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Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (File Photo)
Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (File Photo)

"We were to select one thing...to save our politics or the state": Pak minister defends economic policies after bypoll drubbing

ANI | Updated: Oct 18, 2022 18:08 IST

Washington [US], October 18 (ANI):  Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that his country is ready to buy fuel from Russia at the same rate being provided to neighbouring India, according to The News International.

Ishaq Dar, who is the newly appointed finance minister of the country, made these remarks during an official visit to the United States (US).

Ishaq Dar also commented on the outcome of recent bypolls which were dominated by Imran Khan's PTI, and referred to the government’s efforts to tame inflation and tackle unemployment.

 “We were to select one thing among the two: either to save our politics or the state. We opted for the second,” he said.

In a major upset to the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won six National Assembly and two Punjab Assembly seats in by-elections on Monday.

PTI was contesting from seven constituencies and won the by-elections in six of eight National Assembly seats.

The main opposition party also won two of three Punjab Assembly seats in the by-elections, further strengthening its position in the country's biggest province -- where it rules in coalition with Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q).

While interacting with media persons, Ishaq Dar also asserted that the West would have no problem to importing the discounted fuel due to the hardship caused by devastating floods in Pakistan.

 “I have held 58 meetings with the heads of international financial institutions, the US, Saudi Arabia and other countries’ authorities during my 4-day stay in Washington,” The News quoted Ishaq Dar as saying.

In a roundtable conference hosted to discuss floods in Pakistan, the Pakistan finance minister said the United Nations Development Programme, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank authorities presented a joint report there.

“Pakistan suffered losses to the tune of USD 32.40 billion due to floods. More than USD 16 billion are needed by Pakistan for the rehabilitation work,” the Pak minister said, citing the report.

According to a media report, Pakistan is staring at a possible food crisis as the production of wheat in the upcoming Rabi season is expected to drop owing to low-profit margins that are forcing farmers to look out for alternative crops.

Heavily impacted by the unprecedented floods throughout the country, Pakistan is now planning to buy wheat from sanction-hit Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

"The two technical sides are already discussing that. We want to procure wheat from Russia," Pakistani Ambassador to Moscow Shafqat Ali Khan said in an interview with the news agency TASS.

The Pakistani ambassador said they look to Russia as a long-term and stable partner when it comes to food supplies amid the food crisis.

"...Russia has emerged as a new supplier for us, earlier it used to be different other countries. We look to Russia as a long-term, stable partner when it comes to food supplies for us," he said.

Notably, these talks on wheat procurement and fuel come amid the diplomatic row over US President Joe Biden's remark on Pakistan.

At a Democratic party event, US President described the south Asian country as "one of the most dangerous nations" in the world which holds "nuclear weapons without any cohesion." (ANI)