NEW DELHI: Did Pakistan secretly sell arms to the United States to secure a desperately needed bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this year?
A recent report by US-based non-profit organisation The Intercept claims that Pakistan had secretly supplied arms that were eventually used to aid Ukrainian forces combat Russia amid the ongoing war.
This indicates Islamabad’s indirect involvement in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
According to the Intercept, Pakistan is known as a production hub for the types of basic munitions needed for grinding warfare.
Notably, some open source reports about the conflict suggested the use of Pakistan-made shells and other weaponry by Ukraine, which had been struggling with a crippling shortage of weapons.
A source within the Pakistani military leaked records to The Intercept, detailing the arms transactions earlier this year.
According to the documents, US and Pakistan agreed to the sale of munitions from the summer of 2022 to the spring of 2023. The Russian invasion took place in February 2022.
Furthermore, the authentication process was done by matching the signature of an American brigadier general with his signature on publicly available mortgage records in US; by matching the Pakistani documents with corresponding American documents; and by reviewing publicly available but previously unreported Pakistani disclosures of arms sales to the US posted by the State Bank of Pakistan.
Citing documents, The Intercept reported that the weapons deals were brokered by Global Military Products, a subsidiary of Global Ordnance, a controversial arms dealer whose entanglements with less-than-reputable figures in Ukraine were the subject of a recent New York Times article.
Deal helped Pakistan secure bailout
The report claimed that Pakistan earned political goodwill from the arms sale, which in turn played a key role in helping the cash-strapped country secure a bailout from IMF.
It further said that the US State Department took IMF into confidance about the undisclosed weapons deal.
“To win the loan, Pakistan had been told by the IMF it had to meet certain financing and refinancing targets related to its debt and foreign investment — targets that the country was struggling to meet. The weapons sales came to the rescue, with the funds garnered from the sale of munitions for Ukraine going a long way to cover the gap,” The Intercept reported.
Notably, Pakistan faced major protests as it had to impose harsh structural policy reforms to meet the terms set by IMF for its recent bailout.
The country witnessed several strikes in response to the austere measures.
“Pakistani democracy may ultimately be a casualty of Ukraine’s counteroffensive,” Arif Rafiq, a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute and specialist on Pakistan, told The Intercept.
(With inputs from agencies)