Pakistan denies arming Ukrainian forces

FO spokesperson says the country is a victim of terrorism and has evidence of India's terror activities


Our Correspondent April 28, 2023
Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.—PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN/FILE

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ISLAMABAD:

 

Pakistan on Friday denied providing weapons to Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia, insisting the country maintained a “policy of strict neutrality.”
The rebuttal came after a Ukrainian army commander claimed that the Pakistani weapons he received were of “substandard”.

In an interview with BBC, the commander of the 17 tank battalion of the Ukrainian army talked about receiving rockets from other countries, including Pakistan.
This has triggered a debate as to whether Pakistan is arming troops fighting against the Russian army in Ukraine or not.

“I would reiterate what we have said in the past from this podium. Pakistan maintains a policy of strict neutrality in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia and in that context, do not provide any ammunition to them,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told her weekly news briefing.

“However, we must realise that in the past, Pakistan has had strong defence ties with Ukraine. We have also said and I reiterate again, that Pakistan’s defense exports are always accompanied with strict end user requirements and we hope those end user requirements would be fully respected by recipients,” she added while hinting at the possibility of Ukrainian military using the Pakistan ammunition provided earlier.

Pakistan has resisted the Western pressure particularly from the US to take a tough stance against Russia. Islamabad, nevertheless, has maintained a delicate balance. It has abstained from voting on resolutions condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But reports of Pakistan weapons and ammunition making its way to Ukraine have raised eyebrows.

Meanwhile, responding to questions about statements of Indian officials, the spokesperson said Pakistan is a victim of terrorism.

“We have suffered as a result of terrorism for the last several decades. In this context, we have presented to the international community undeniable evidence of Indian involvement in terrorist incidents inside Pakistani territory. We reject any insinuations that link Pakistan to terrorist incidents anywhere, including by Indian authorities, as these comments are unwarranted and have no basis,” she stressed.

The spokesperson tried to downplay the reports appeared in a section of the Indian media where it was suggested that India had turned down Pakistan’s request for a bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Goa.

“In our announcement of the visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Goa, we made it very clear that this visit is taking place in the context of a mandatory meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” she said.

She maintained that Pakistan is an active member of SCO, and we believe Pakistan's voice must be heard in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of SCO.

“I reiterate that this visit is taking place in the context of SCO and any other noise that accompanies the visit of the Foreign Minister must be ignored, because that's just noise and has no bearing on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its proceedings,” she added.

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