Pakistan accused of covertly profiting $364 million from weapons deal with US firms for Ukraine amid denials and IMF negotiations

Pakistan faces allegations of a secret $364 million arms deal with US firms for Ukraine, challenging official denials and raising questions about geopolitical motives and financial maneuvers.

Low on funds According to a media source, Pakistan allegedly made USD 364 million last year from a weapons agreement with two private US businesses to sell munitions to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. In order to provide weapons to the war-torn nation, a British military cargo jet made five flights from Pakistan Air Force facility Nur Khan in Rawalpindi to the British military facility in Cyprus, Akrotiri, and finally to Romania, according to a Monday report from the BBC Urdu.

That being said, Islamabad has always refuted any allegations that it has given munitions to Romania’s neighbor, Ukraine. The BBC story said that Pakistan had signed two contracts for the supply of 155mm rounds with American corporations “Global Military” and “Northrop Grumman,” citing contract information from the American Federal Procurement Data System.

These agreements to provide weapons to Ukraine were signed on August 17, 2022, and were specifically linked to the purchase of 155mm shells. The Foreign Office in Islamabad has denied any sale of arms and ammunition to Ukraine, saying that Pakistan maintained a policy of “strict neutrality” in the dispute between the two countries and did not provide them with any arms or ammunition in that context. These purported agreements were made while the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a multiparty coalition that defeated the Imran Khan-led administration in a vote of no confidence in April of last year, was in power.

Following that, in November 2022, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa—who had promised to elevate ties between Pakistan and the UK to a “new height”—retired. When these purported contracts were signed in August 2022, the Ukraine crisis was a major topic of discussion in Pakistani politics, especially after cricketer-turned-politician Khan visited Russia on February 24 and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order to invade Ukraine. A few months after the visit, Gen. Bajwa openly broke with Khan and demanded a quick halt to the invasion.

Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, denied claims that Pakistan was arming Ukraine to help its armed forces in the country’s continuing conflict with Russia while on a visit to that country in July. According to the BBC Urdu report, Global Military was given a contract of USD 232 million, and Northrop Grumman inked a deal worth USD 131 million. “These agreements expired last month i.e. October 2023,” it continued. According to the allegation, a British military cargo jet from Nur Khan Air Base made five landings in Rawalpindi before making the supplies.

In August 2022, the first such aircraft touched down in Rawalpindi. “Each time, the plane flew from Nur Khan Airbase to the British military base in Cyprus and then to Romania, that too at a time when Russia was waging war in Romania’s neighbouring country Ukraine,” according to the article. According to BBC Urdu, the State Bank of Pakistan’s statistics also indicated that the nation’s weaponry exports rose by 3,000% in FY 2022–2023, supporting their assertions with other proof.

“Pakistan exported arms worth USD 13 million in 2021-22, while these exports reached USD 415 million in 2022-23,” stated the report. Previous reports claimed that cash-strapped Islamabad was able to get an important International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout earlier this year thanks to covert Pakistani weaponry shipments to the US that were intended for use by Ukraine.

The goal of the arms supplies was to provide the Ukrainian military, signifying Pakistan’s engagement in a conflict over which it had been pressured to choose a side by the US. However, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokeswoman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office, dismissed the story as “baseless and fabricated,” claiming that the cash-strapped nation gave armaments to the US in exchange for its cooperation in finalizing the USD 3 billion agreement with the IMF by the end of June in order to avoid default

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