Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Moscow for a two-day visit this week, hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an assault on Ukraine. Imran Khan’s visit has attracted substantial attention, along with a video of the Pakistan PM’s discussion on his arrival in Moscow being widely circulated and criticised.
Speaking to the Russian contingent present at the airport to receive them, Khan commented, “What a time I have come, so much excitement… I am so excited to come to Moscow.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov received Imran Khan at the air terminal, where the Russian military presented a guard of honour to him.
During his visit, the Pakistani leader pushed for the development of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline, which is to be an implicit joint effort with Russian organisations. Khan was also scheduled to have a lunch get-together with Putin on Thursday and leave for Islamabad at 11.30pm after his planned gatherings. However, with the pressure heightening on Thursday, he supposedly finished his visit before his planned meetings. The visit was arranged over a month prior, and was the first visit of a Pakistani leader to Moscow in over 20 years.
While visiting the Kremlin, Imran Khan also underlined that a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict is “imperative”. Simultaneously, he pledged to maintain a “long-term, multi-dimensional relationship” with Russia. Following the meeting, the Pakistani government released a statement mentioning the main talking points such as the Kashmir issue, and the bilateral ties between the countries. It also expressed regret over the Ukraine crisis.
In response to this meeting, the US stated that it is the responsibility of all countries to express their opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. “We’ve communicated to Pakistan our position regarding Russia’s further renewed invasion of Ukraine and we have briefed them on our efforts to pursue diplomacy over war,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing when asked about Imran Khan’s Moscow visit, according to Opinion India.
Read more: US And European Allies List Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine Aggression
In the hours following the meeting between the Pak PM and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, two US agencies levied a $55 million fine against the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and its New York branch. According to reports, the US Federal Reserve and the New York State Superintendent of Financial Services fined the central bank of Pakistan for non-compliance with federal laws and deficiencies. NBP is being fined $20.4 million by the Federal Reserve, and $35 million by the New York Department of Financial Services for “significant deficiencies” as per the branch’s “risk management and compliance with federal law, rules, and regulations”.
The order stated that the NBP had entered into a written agreement with the authorities to correct the “deficiencies” on March 16, 2016, based on the investigation carried out on that date. According to the investigation, the NBP failed to “achieve full compliance with all the terms of the written contract”. Moreover, the order noted that since the Pakistan bank had violated US laws, both the NBP and the Federal Reserve had “mutually agreed” to enter into the cease-and-desist order.