Maiden trip: Vladimir Putin to visit Pakistan in Sept

Published: March 6, 2012

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accepted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s invitation to visit Pakistan in September. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: It was -8 degrees Celsius in Moscow on Tuesday but a telephone call from Islamabad to the Kremlin brought about some warmth in the otherwise frosty Pakistan-Russia relationship.

The newly-elected Russian president, Vladimir Putin, accepted an invitation extended by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to travel to Islamabad in September this year, said an official announcement. This will be the first-ever trip to Islamabad by any Russian head of state.

According to the statement, Premier Gilani telephoned Putin to congratulate him on his success in the presidential elections, and formally invited him to an official trip to Pakistan.

The dates of the visit will be decided by the two foreign ministers soon, the statement added.

Quadrilateral meetings

Apart from holding bilateral talks with the country’s leadership, the Russian leader will also attend a quadrilateral summit scheduled for later this year, a senior foreign ministry official told The Express Tribune.

The summit would be attended by leaders of Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and focus on regional issues with particular emphasis on the Afghan endgame, the official added.

The last such meeting was held in the Tajik capital Dushanbe in 2011 where the four nations urged the US-led Nato forces to step up the training of local security forces before pulling out of Afghanistan.

Russia, which suffered a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan in the 1980s, has voiced concerns on the future of the country once the US-led coalition withdraws its troops.

The concern was shared with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar who visited Moscow last month.

Official sources say that Russia has apprehensions that Afghanistan may slip into a civil war again due to lack of a clear roadmap for future political dispensation.

Changing ties

Meanwhile, the maiden visit by a Russian head of state to Pakistan reflects the recent improvement in bilateral relations between former cold-war rivals.

In May last year, President Asif Ali Zardari undertook a historic visit to Moscow, the first official trip by any head of state from Pakistan in 37 years.

The shift is purportedly part of Pakistan’s realignment in the region in the wake of its fragile ties with the US.

Pakistan is currently reevaluating its cooperation with the US based on recommendations furnished by an all-party bicameral parliamentary panel. The foreign policy review includes recommendations that Pakistan re-evaluate its relationship with Russia.

On its part, Russia, in an unprecedented move, denounced last year’s Nato cross border raid on Pakistani check posts and believed to have backed Islamabad’s move to shut down supplies for western forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • SalSal
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:29PM

    Putins the man! He’s the only one who can lead Russia. Congrats!!

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  • AK47
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:37PM

    Good chance for Pakistan to strengthen its relationship with Russia.

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  • AK56
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:56PM

    A wise step . Cong. Gilani

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  • Sohaib
    Mar 6, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Oh I love his personality so much! :D

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Mar 6, 2012 - 8:25PM

    The fierce protests were directed to Putin’s party (United Russia) and his supporters who were alleged for having rigged the elections. They have been seen by the election watchdog – OSZE as unfair as well, although Putin’s victory can’t be denied. The young, educated and urban voters criticise Putin’s reluctance to reform the system, which he himself had built up. Many Russians are fed up withrampant corruption and cronyism.

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  • Umer
    Mar 6, 2012 - 8:29PM

    Americans will protest on this as well.

    Liberal fascists will bash Islam.

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  • SalSal
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:03PM

    @J Von
    Where did u get that from? BBC news? Russia is one of the emerging superpowers. Thanks to Putin. The West is just jealous of his unsubmissive attitude towards the West

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  • Chengez K
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:13PM

    Finally this PPP govt does something right

    Pakistan & Russia are natural allies in this point of history.Pakistan should offer Gawadar port services to Russia & China…..

    A REGIONAL consensus needs to be developed between Russia,China,Iran & Pakistan on Afghanistan so that NATO can be evicted from our region !!!

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  • Mar 7, 2012 - 8:02AM

    This augurs good for the country and the region. Mr. Zardari! This is a very good step and must have been undertaken sixty-five years back. Please do not allow detractors to derail this move.

    Let sense and sensibility prevail. To sum up positively, “discretion is the better part of valor.” Viva Zardari. With the USA, our relationship has always been on the wrong foot, we have lost our fingers, and we receive treatment like pariahs and suffer from heartburn.

    Now Pakistan is moving in the right direction. Salams to Pakistan

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 7, 2012 - 8:42AM

    some thing new in the area.

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  • ReHaN
    Mar 7, 2012 - 8:57AM

    Welcome Mr. President !!!

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  • Californian
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Another promising all weather friend. Make sure your “strategic assets” do not kill him.

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  • ashok sai
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:27AM

    Another double game offer by Pakistan, but Russia which supports northern alliance, is not a fool like the US to engage Pakistan as it knows well about the Pak army ties with Taliban.

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  • Hamza
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:27AM

    It was Soviet Union, not Russia which lost in Afghanistan.

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  • MAD
    Mar 7, 2012 - 10:10AM

    okay so Pakistan cozying up to Russia, India best buddies with the US. is this a role reversal or what?

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  • Mirza Zulfiqar Baig
    Mar 7, 2012 - 10:15AM

    As American foreign policy disappointed Pakistan. This a great step looking towards other friends in the region.

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  • maestro
    Mar 7, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Good news. Welcome Mr. Putin.

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  • antony
    Mar 7, 2012 - 11:32AM

    I think pakistan will lose both america and russia and india will gain america and retain russia .. The best approach pakistan should take is multilateral bringing both US and russia together in afghanistan and play its card and not pitting one against the other ..On comparision with India’s strategies ,I recall CHESS was invented in India and the Indian strategy till date has been good (5th generation fighter jet,nuclear sub,brahmos missiles from russia and nuclear deal from US)

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  • Mar 7, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Welcome Mr.putin

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  • Gopal Malhotra
    Mar 7, 2012 - 2:58PM

    I think pakistan will lose both america and russia and india will gain america and retain russia .. The best approach pakistan should take is multilateral bringing both US and russia together in afghanistan and play its card and not pitting one against the other ..On comparision with India’s strategies ,I recall CHESS was invented in India and the Indian strategy till date has been good (5th generation fighter jet,nuclear sub,brahmos missiles from russia and nuclear deal from US)

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 7, 2012 - 3:58PM

    this news may intrest most pakistanis, and is sure to create furore across the entire islamic world, because one muslim has been cremated rather than being burried.
    how will he answer on the day of judgement

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Leaked-emails-raise-doubt-over-Osama-bin-Laden-being-buried-at-sea/articleshow/12174332.cms

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  • Noise
    Mar 7, 2012 - 8:05PM

    Russia has come out of its shell with Syria, we should form closer links with this great power which is much closer to us than Europe and America.

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  • Bloch
    Mar 7, 2012 - 8:51PM

    This is a smart move by Gallani. I think this will ease the American pressure on Pakistan. Pakistan has been is quite a pressure for last 10 years. It is now time to go on aggressive foreign policy. With China, Russia and Iran with us, it is time to say USA, “In peace USA”.Recommend

  • awais
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:41PM

    Well Come honorable Mr. President, its great pleasures that you are visiting us, once again well come honorable Mr. President, Thanks Mr. Prime Minister inviting Russian President, we as a Pakistani should realize earlier then this that we are more developed & stronger, when we have good relation with our neighbors.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 8, 2012 - 3:24AM

    A real good news in a long long time.Russia is the new superpower.
    They have the money.They can surely help us.The US is too demanding and the Chinese are stingy.

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  • Americano
    Mar 8, 2012 - 10:46AM

    Putin believes in the constitutional process about as much as Pakistani politicians. You lot should get on like houses on fire.

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  • abdulazeez
    Mar 8, 2012 - 11:16AM

    Dear pakistani: you never get Arms and Ammuniton from Russia because India-Russia friendship is not a two three years old it’s a 65years old friendship.Russia do nothing against Indian interest in the south Asia region. 5th generation joint venture stealth multirole fighter plane Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA is one example.

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  • Mar 13, 2012 - 3:04PM

    it is a great news to hear that Russian president Mr. Putin will visit Islamabad in September 2012. it is great shift in pakistan foreign policy which being controlled by Pakistan Army for last six decades. pakistan should look towards it,s regional neighbours. they can help pakistan to over come problems faced by it. hpoefuly these relations will improve with the passage of time.

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