Miftah Ismail, Pakistan’s finance minister, said on Tuesday that if offered, Pakistan would consider buying oil from Russia at a lower price if sanctions were not imposed as a result of the arrangement.
When asked by CNN’s Becky Anderson about the potential of Pakistan buying inexpensive Russian oil like neighbouring India, Ismail responded that if there were no restrictions against Pakistan buying Russian oil, he would “certainly consider.”
The minister, on the other hand, repeated his position that Pakistani banks would not be able to make any arrangements to buy Russian oil. He also stated that Moscow has not given Pakistan a lower contract.
“The previous government talked about getting oil from Russia,” Ismail said Anderson, “but I believe Russia is under sanctions, and they haven’t answered to the previous government’s letter.”
The minister stated that the government has inquired about wheat imports from both Ukraine and Russia, adding that the government would be pleased to purchase wheat from whatever country was willing to sell to Pakistan.
Former Energy Minister Hammad Azhar also chastised Ismail for his position on Russian oil imports. In a tweet, Azhar expressed surprise that the government, despite being in charge for 45 days, is still unaware that there are no restrictions prohibiting Russia from importing oil.
“Miftah sahib claims that our banks are unable to obtain letters of credit in favour of Russian items, but then goes on to announce that he is purchasing Russian wheat.” Then he states that if no sanctions are in place, the government will buy Russian oil. “It’s been 45 days and he still hasn’t realised there aren’t any consequences,” Azhar added.
Azhar said in another tweet that Russia began offering reduced oil in mid-March, and Pakistan promptly began talks on the matter. Pakistan’s Ambassador in Moscow told him on March 29 that Russia needed a letter in writing from Pakistan, which was delivered the next day, on March 30. He questioned the finance minister on why, although over two months, no progress had been accomplished in this area.
India buys Russian crude oil.
It’s worth noting that India has greatly expanded its oil imports from Russia in recent months. According to Refinitiv projections, Russian oil shipments to India in May will be 9 times higher than the monthly average in 2021.
According to a recent report by Reuters, US sanctions against Russia do not prohibit other countries from purchasing Russian oil. Officials in the Biden administration, though, have contemplated “secondary sanctions” that may limit those purchases.