The Economic Crisis Compelled Pakistan To Consider Importing Food & Fuel From Russia
Mr. Iftikhar clearly had his country’s best interests in mind when responding to the journalist who asked him about this on Friday and should therefore be praised for articulating such a pragmatic stance on behalf of the new authorities, but he also unwittingly discredited some of their most influential supporters who insisted that it’s impossible for Pakistan to refine Russian oil.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has consistently claimed that the Russian dimension of his independent foreign policy was one of the reasons why the US allegedly conspired with the opposition to scandalously oust him in early April, a charge that the new government has of course denied. Even so, he continued to lambast his successors for failing to continue the talks that he revealed that he was holding with Russia over heavily discounted imports of food and fuel, who in turn contentiously claimed that no such documentary evidence exists to prove that any discussions were ever held about this.
This makes it all the more surprising that these same new authorities suddenly said that they won’t rule out such imports as reported by the reputable Express Tribune on Friday. According to the outlet, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that “Our policy is clear, you know in terms of expanding economic and trade relations, we have an open policy, driven by national interest - wherever we see there is a national benefit we pursue those options and avenues” when he was asked by a journalist about this scenario.
That doesn’t of course mean that they’ll ultimately end up entering into such talks (or unfreezing the ones that the ouster premier claims to have been actively involved in), but just that they’re not dismissing this possibility. That’s a pragmatic stance for them to take and is almost certainly the result of their country’s economic crisis compelling them to consider importing discounted food and fuel from Russia. Nevertheless, there are definitely some energy experts and journalists who aren’t too happy to hear about this after staking their reputation on the false claim that Pakistan can’t refine Russian oil.
They insisted that their former Prime Minister was spreading fake news when he claimed to have been pursuing the import of discounted Russian oil even though it was ultimately they who were spreading such since there’s no way that the new authorities wouldn’t rule out these exact same purchases if it was physically impossible for them to process. Pakistani energy expert Ahmad Waqar compellingly debunked those fake claims being pushed by his peers in his op-ed titled “Russian Oil and Pakistan’s Dilemma”, where he pointed out that Pakistan can easily process two of Russia’s four types of oil.
Be that as it is, nobody should get their hopes up for these same energy experts and journalists to admit that they were misinformed of the facts at best or purposely spreading fake news at worst, perhaps even speculatively at someone else’s behest (whether voluntarily or because they were being paid). That’s because partisan polarization is so intense in Pakistan right now as a result of its ongoing political crisis stemming from former Prime Minister Khan’s scandalous ouster that some influencers simply can’t bring themselves to say anything positive about their former leader.
The very fact that the new authorities aren’t ruling out the import of Russian oil discredits their supporters who insisted that it’s impossible to process this resource, which speaks to the pragmatism of their former premier for seeking to cut a discounted deal over this with President Putin. It also implies that his successors finally acknowledge the importance of possibly doing so in order to provide some relief from their country’s crushing economic crisis since it’s in Pakistan’s objective national interests to reduce its import bill as soon as possible.
Mr. Iftikhar clearly had his country’s best interests in mind when responding to the journalist who asked him about this on Friday and should therefore be praised for articulating such a pragmatic stance on behalf of the new authorities, but he also unwittingly discredited some of their most influential supporters who insisted that it’s impossible for Pakistan to refine Russian oil. The revelation that it is indeed possible to do so otherwise the ouster premier’s successors would naturally have ruled out the scenario of importing oil from Russia exposes journalistic malpractice in Pakistan.
In particular, those key influencers who spread what is now indisputably regarded as fake news about their country’s refining capabilities must publicly account for their prior claims if they have any professional integrity. Remaining silent or suddenly praising the new authorities’ pragmatic stance without explaining how it’s any different from the exact same thing that former Prime Minister Khan wanted to do and which they unambiguously condemned as impossible would suggest that they aren’t bonafide energy experts or journalists but fake news factories and perhaps even hired pens.
This observation would harm Pakistan’s objective national interests since the country’s international media reputation is at stake after prominent individuals spread fake news about their country’s refining capabilities. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that one was mistaken – in fact, observers would actually respect those who can publicly acknowledge this – but remaining conspicuously silent once the facts finally came to light by innuendo discredits these same individuals and thus by extension erodes the credibility of Pakistani media.
In the event that these energy experts and journalists were operating on behalf of someone else, those forces that were pulling their strings should order their proxies to publicly account for their prior claims in order to protect their country’s international media reputation. Those who submit to becoming someone else’s puppets must understand that they’ll sometimes be asked to share fake news that runs the risk of ruining their reputation if the facts ever come to light so they should expect to be asked to admit they were at the very least misinformed otherwise they’re discredited and thus useless as proxies.
To wrap it all up, the takeaway from the new government’s pragmatic stance towards the possible import of discounted food and fuel (especially oil) from Russia is that their country’s crushing economic crisis likely compelled them to imply credence to former Prime Minister Khan’s wisdom in allegedly wanting to pursue such before his ouster. It also inadvertently exposed quite a few energy experts and journalists who insisted that it’s impossible for Pakistan to refine Russian oil as having spread fake news, which will harm their country’s international media reputation unless they publicly account for this.