Pakistan’s FO Denies Alleged Weapons Deal with Ukraine for IMF Support

The Foreign Office (FO) firmly denied a report from foreign media suggesting that Pakistan was selling weapons to Ukraine in exchange for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.

The online news organisation, The Intercept, published what the FO described as a ‘baseless’ story, claiming that Islamabad was secretly dealing arms to Kyiv, suggesting this was a hidden part of its agreement with the Washington-centered IMF. The story suggested that these alleged sales meant Pakistan was indirectly choosing a side in the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson for the FO, in response to the claims, stated the story was "wholly without foundation." She elaborated, "The discussions between Pakistan and the IMF were for tough, yet crucial economic reforms. It's misleading to suggest any other motives behind these talks."

Reaffirming Pakistan's position, Baloch mentioned that the country has always been neutral regarding the Russia-Ukraine situation. "We don't supply arms to either of them. All of Pakistan’s defense sales follow strict guidelines," she added.

Backing up Pakistan's stance, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, during his official visit to Islamabad in July, denied any arms deal with Pakistan. Addressing the media alongside Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, then the foreign minister, Kuleba stated, "There's no arms deal between Ukraine and Pakistan."

Kuleba thanked Pakistan for standing by Ukraine's side on matters of its sovereignty and security. The Ukrainian diplomat expressed keen interest in improving trade relations, hinting at the start of a Pakistan-Ukraine economic cooperation commission. "Pakistan is a valuable partner, and we are eager to collaborate, especially in areas like food security," said Kuleba. He also acknowledged Pakistan's help for the people in conflict zones in his country.

Bilawal, on this occasion, stressed the importance of resolving conflicts through talks. He said, "Pakistan always supports peace efforts that bring lasting calm in any region."

Highlighting the IMF's role in supporting Pakistan, in July, the fund deposited a significant $1.2 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan, a move seen as a much-needed boost for the financially troubled nation. This followed the lender's approval of a $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) over nine months after extended discussions about fiscal matters.

By June, Pakistan had finalised an agreement with the IMF, securing a pact that brought in more funds than anticipated, offering a lifeline to the populous nation of 230 million.

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