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Russia offered wheat to Pakistan: Minister

The minister’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation returned from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Saturday that besides gas, Russia has also offered to provide wheat to Pakistan in the wake of catastrophic floods and keeping in view the possibility of food shortage that may occur in the aftermath of the deluge, media reports said.

“Russia has said that it can provide us wheat because in the coming days we may have shortages”, he revealed at a press conference in Islamabad, Dawn reported.

The minister’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation returned from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan.

During his two-day visit, Sharif held meetings with several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In one such meeting on Thursday, Putin had said that pipeline gas supply to Pakistan is possible, revealing that the necessary infrastructures are already in place.

The two leaders also expressed commitment to expand and strengthen cooperation between their countries across all areas of mutual benefit, including food security, trade and investment, energy, defence and security, Dawn reported.

Asif confirmed the development during the presser on Saturday.

“They have said that they can give us gas. Russia said that it has gas pipelines in Central Asian countries and the pipelines could be extended to Pakistan via Afghanistan. These talks have taken place,” he elaborated.

The minister said that Putin also appreciated Pakistan’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war in the United Nations (UN) and internationally.

Talking about the meeting with the Chinese President, he said that Xi expressed his wish to resume the China�Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project with the “same efficiency and passion”.

“To Pakistan, he said that ‘we are all-weather friends’ and offered to help the country in every situation,” Asif said.

Army chief appointment row

Meanwhile, Khawaja Asif has warned former premier Imran Khan to stop the pursuit of making the appointment of the new army chief controversial as it “will embolden India”, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will instate him in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

Shelving Khan’s demand of postponing the appointment of the army chief till August, Asif said he will not let the former Prime Minister put the country at stake and appease India, Samaa TV reported.

“The appointment will be made in November as per schedule,” he said during a presser.

He also remarked that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief is rewarding India by promoting political uncertainty in the country, Samaa TV reported.

Earlier in the press conference, Asif termed the Sharif’s visit to Samarkand for the SCO Summit as “extremely successful”.

He said the premier met with the heads of 10 countries during the two-day visit who promised to extend support to the flood-stricken people of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister represented Pakistan in the Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO on Thursday and Friday.

Asif said the meetings with Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and Turkish heads of state were the highlight of Sharif’s visit.

“All these countries promised assistance to Pakistan,” he maintained.

The Defence Minister also announced that the premier will visit Beijing in the first week of November at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

ALSO READ: Deadly floods in Pakistan affect 16mn children

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