Pakistan is a peace-loving country and its foreign policy seeks to promote the internationally recognized norms of interstate relations that include respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and non-aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes. If we look into the Russia-Ukraine current crisis, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Moscow on February 23-24, regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine and had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict. He also stressed the need for settling disputes through dialogue and diplomacy. The Pakistani leader has reiterated that his country is seeking balanced ties with major world powers and would not become part of any global bloc politics.
Historically, Ukraine occupies a strategic geographical position in Europe. Until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union. Contemporary, the Russia-Ukraine conflict started when Russia’s attempted to prevent the country from joining NATO as it poses a threat to its national security. Basically, Moscow wants to keep Ukraine in its bloc, arguing it would be a threat to Russian security if it joins NATO.
However, Pakistan has bilateral relations with both Russia and Ukraine and while mainlining its policy of neutrality Pakistan refrain from interfering with both states’ internal affairs and ask to resolve their issue diplomatically. Pakistan stayed on the sidelines in the UN debate on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Even though, the top diplomats of 22 countries, including European Union member states, jointly called on the government of Pakistan to support a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. A joint statement signed by 22 European Union countries urged Pakistan to join them in condemning Russia’s actions.
On 2 March 2022, UNSC called on a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to pass a condemnation resolution against Russia. This was a rare session that was called after 20 years. However, in this UNGA session, 141 countries voted against Russia and 35 countries including India, China, Pakistan and UAE abstain from voting. Pakistan has its own national interest and stature and does not want to become a part of any power-politics blocs and to be used against any state. Though, Pakistan was pressurized by the West to favor them in sidelining Russia in the Ukraine war.
How the world is getting affected?
Ukraine and Russia together account for a quarter of the global grain trade and constitute a third of global wheat and barley exports. Ukraine is the fifth largest exporter of wheat in the world and in 2021Pakistan imported 39 percent of its total wheat imports from Ukraine. Due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis overall, trade in this region will be impacted and will cause commodity prices to remain elevated. Pakistan also has the intention to buy two million tons of wheat from Russia and to construct a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline. This current situation between Russia–Ukraine will directly or indirectly affect Pakistan.
Currently, the Pakistani leadership is looking to urgently stabilize the country’s inflation-hit economy by increasing domestic production and attracting foreign investment. Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy, unveiled earlier this year, reaffirmed the government’s aspiration for regional integration and even contained tentative provisions for better relations with its archrival India. The document also called for “reimagining the country’s partnership with Russia in energy, defense cooperation, and investment”. To achieve its economic goals, Pakistan is aware that it needs to maintain regional peace and avoid getting entangled in the expanding mesh of global power politics. Pakistan advocated direct dialogue between Russia and Ukraine and emphasized the diplomatic solution of the conflict.
The writer is an Islamabad-based analyst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.