Islamabad, 17 January 2021 (TDI): This afternoon, the leaders of Pakistan and Russia, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Vladimir Putin respectively, engaged in a telephone exchange. The objective of the meeting was to discuss bilateral cooperation in addition to other subjects of mutual interest.
Putin’s Statement on Prophet Muhammad
During the exchange, Prime Minister Khan expressed his appreciation of Putin’s emphatic statement regarding respecting the Holy Prophet Muhammad. During an annual press conference in Moscow in late December, the Russian President had remarked that insults targeted at Prophet Muhammad were a violation of “the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam”, and did not fall under freedom of speech.
Khan commended this action and further commented on the rising rates of Islamophobia across the globe. He also mentioned that he had attempted several times to highlight the serious ramifications of such associated prejudices to the United Nations General Assembly.
Bilateral Cooperation between Pakistan and Russia
Furthermore, the Prime Minister noted that Pakistan and Russia’s diplomatic relationship was heading in a positive direction. Specifically, he pointed out that both countries were increasingly cooperating in the sectors of the economy, trade, and energy.
Regarding that, he expressed the Government of Pakistan’s intention to continue working on the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project. Russia is offering significant contributions to this project.
Additionally, both leaders came to the consensus that bilateral cooperation must be intensified in multiple facets, between the two nations. They also agreed that high-level exchanges, such as this telephone exchange, should be increased.
The two also stated that Pakistan and Russia should stay in close contact and collaborate on resolving the crises taking place in Afghanistan. Imran Khan acknowledged that the stability of Afghanistan was essential to establish regional stability.
In addition, he stressed the urgent need for the US to release Afghanistan’s financial assets. He argued that these would address the needs of the Afghan people, and help combat the humanitarian crisis.
Lastly, Prime Minister Khan extended a formal invitation to Putin to visit Pakistan, and also assured of his visit to Russia.