A secret Pakistani arms sale to the United States helped facilitate a controversial bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this year, as per two sources aware of the arrangement, with confirmation from internal Pakistani and American government documents, The Intercept reported.
The Intercept is an online American non-profit news organization.
The arms sales were made for the purpose of supplying the Ukrainian military. This signals Pakistani involvement in a conflict it had faced US pressure to take sides on.
As per The Intercept, the revelation is a window into the kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering between financial and political elites that rarely is exposed to the public, even as the public pays the price.
Pakistan faced major protests in face of harsh structural policy reforms demanded by the IMF as terms for its recent bailout. There were several strikes in the country in response to the measures. The protests are the latest chapter in a year-and-a-half-long political crisis roiling the country.
With the encouragement of the US, the Pakistani military in April 2022, helped organize a no-confidence vote to remove Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ahead of Khan’s ouster, US State Department diplomats privately expressed anger to their Pakistani counterparts over what they called Pakistan’s “aggressively neutral” stance on the Ukraine war under Khan.
They warned of dire consequences if Khan remained in power and promised “all would be forgiven” if he were removed.
After Khan’s ouster, Islamabad emerged as a useful supporter of the US and its allies in the war, assistance that has now been repaid with an IMF loan. The emergency loan allowed the new Pakistani government to put off a looming economic catastrophe and indefinitely postpone elections.
A nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute and specialist on Pakistan, Arif Rafiq, said: “Pakistani democracy may ultimately be a casualty of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.”
As per The Intercept, Pakistan is known as a production hub for the types of basic munitions needed for grinding warfare. As Ukraine grappled with chronic shortages of munitions and hardware, the presence of Pakistani-produced shells and other ordinances by the Ukrainian military has surfaced in open-source news reports about the conflict, though neither the US nor the Pakistanis have acknowledged the arrangement.
A source within the Pakistani military, leaked records detailing the arms transactions earlier this year. The documents describe munitions sales agreed to between the US and Pakistan from the summer of 2022 to the spring of 2023.