Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in Moscow to enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries with a focus on the situation in Afghanistan, in reference to the commitments they made with the international community for forming an inclusive government.
This is Bilawal’s maiden visit to Moscow as Pakistan works towards overtime diplomacy to increase its economic and strategic level relations, along with assessment focused on Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, their performance and their promise to not allow Afghan soil to be used for terror activities and terrorist outfits to operate and be used against other countries.
Pakistan has been accusing the Afghan Taliban regime of failing to control the outflow of militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates, which has stepped up its attacks in Pakistan with targeted killings, bomb blasts and suicide attacks.
Other major focus of Bilawal meeting with his Russian counterpart is to formulate a counter-terrorism strategy and address the shared concerns over growing footprints of Daesh terror group, which recently has posed serious threats to not only Islamabad but also to Moscow.
Russia is also seriously concerned over the Afghan Taliban’s recent moves, which include ban on female education and other restrictions, which have raised questions over a return of the old hard line rule of the Taliban, during the 1990s.
Bilawal’s visit to Moscow is being seen as an important one because it comes at a time when former premier Imran Khan claimed that he was ousted off power because of his visit to Moscow, which he claimed led to the regime change conspiracy by the US.
The visit also holds importance because Russia and Pakistan’s arch-rival India have developed close security level ties, which has been part of Islamabad’s concerns in the past.
Pakistan is also exploring options to import oil and gas from Russia at discounted rates. The matter is expected to be also taken up during Bilawal’s stay in Moscow.
Shehbaz Sharif government has maintained that it has discussed the terms and conditions of oil and gas imports with Russia and will be finalizing the agreement in the coming weeks.
As per reports, both Pakistan and Russia have already finalized the agreement and will be completing all formalities for the same by March this year.