Pakistan is in talks with Russia on the possibility of importing oil on deferred payment, according to a media report on Sunday. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had three meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan's Samarkand city, which concluded last week, the Express Tribune newspaper reported quoting a top government official.
"One was formal and the rest were informal," said the official, who was part of the prime minister’s delegation. "What we have discussed during the recent interaction with the Russian side is the possibility of importing oil on deferred payment," the official said, adding that Moscow has shown inclination to consider the proposal.
If the proposal is materialised, it will be a landmark development given that Pakistan imports oil from Gulf countries and in the past Saudi Arabia and UAE supplied Pakistan oil on deferred payment. However, it is not clear if the government can pursue the option given the likely opposition from the United States. A source in the foreign office disclosed that the US has never explicitly asked Pakistan not to import oil from Russia but "advised us that it is better if we don't enter into such a venture with Russia", the report said.