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No Pakistan-Russia diplomats meeting at SCO raises eyebrows: Report

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 30 (ANI): No bilateral meeting with Russia during the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent on Friday, have raised an eyebrow over the Shahbaz Sharif-led Pakistan government as Islamabad relations with Moscow have been discussed several times during Imran Khan’s regime.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of all member states of SCO yesterday.

In an earlier statement, Pakistan Foreign Office announced that Bilawal would be holding bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of China, Russia and other SCO members, The Express Tribune reported, adding that however, there was no meeting between Bilawal and Lavrov at the forum.

Pakistan’s relationship with Russia was more often talked about at the time when former Prime Minister Imran khan was removed from power in April.

Khan has maintained that he was removed from power through a US conspiracy since he wanted to pursue an independent foreign policy, particularly one that deepens ties with Russia.

In May, Pakistan had said that it is open to importing oil and food products from Russia amid the ongoing backlash against the country for actions in Ukraine.

Russia had launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the day when former Imran Khan decided to visit Moscow to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies.

Imran Khan, who was ousted from power, has claimed the new Shahbaz Sharif government had dropped plans to acquire cheap Russian oil that his government managed to secure.

Meanwhile, Bilawal following his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister on Thursday held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. He separately held a meeting with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, discussing the current Afghan situation and reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, as per The Express Tribune.

The 20th Meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) was held on November 25, 2021, in Nur-Sultan through video conference under the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan and Jaishankar represented India in the meeting, according to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs. (ANI)

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