Russian President Vladmir Putin has turned down Islamabad’s invitation to visit Pakistan and inaugurate a key pipeline project, a report carried by Indian news agency ANI said on Friday.
Providing a reason for turning down the invitation, Moscow explained that there was not enough ‘substance’ in this trip, ANI news agency reported.
The high-level visit was supposed to have seen the Russian president inaugurate the $2 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) North-South Pipeline Project from Karachi to Lahore which would have had the potential of opening a new era of strategic and political alliance between the two countries.
Last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited Putin during his meeting with a Russian delegation led by Victor P Ivanov – co-chairman of the Russia-Pakistan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Economic, Trade and Scientific Cooperation – at the PM’s House in Islamabad.
Putin expected to visit Islamabad soon to seal $2b LNG deal
“Putin might visit Pakistan before June,” said Mobin Saulat, CEO and managing director of Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), the Pakistani company handling the project. “We are 200 million people. And we provide a gateway to other South Asian countries.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.