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Discord leaks: PM Shehbaz, Khar’s discussion on foreign policy leaked

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News Stories Posted by ARY News Digital Team

ISLAMABAD: An important discussion between Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on crucial foreign policy has been leaked online, which has been named ‘Discord leaks’, ARY News reported.  

The highly classified findings of the US intelligence revealed the internal assessment of Pakistan’s policymakers on how to tackle the challenge of growing tussle between the United States and China.

According to a report published by Washington Post, the documents – among a trove of US secrets leaked online through the Discord messaging platform – provided a rare glimpse into the private calculations by key emerging powers, including India, Brazil, Pakistan and Egypt, as “they attempt to straddle allegiances in an era when America is no longer the world’s unchallenged superpower”.

The US – in the leaked documents – had had been able to gain access to the top-secret memo written by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.

According to one of the leaked documents, Hina Rabbani Khar argued in March that her country can “no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States.”

In an internal memo she titled “Pakistan’s Difficult Choices,” Khar, who previously served as Pakistan’s foreign minister, cautioned that Islamabad should avoid giving the appearance of appeasing the West, and said the instinct to preserve Pakistan’s partnership with the United States would ultimately sacrifice the full benefits of what she deemed the country’s “real strategic” partnership with China.

The undated intelligence document does not detail how the United States gained access to Khar’s memo.

Meanwhile, another document, dated Feb 17, describes PM Shehbaz Sharif’s deliberations with a subordinate about an upcoming UN vote on the Ukraine conflict, and what the government anticipated would be renewed Western pressure to back a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.

The aide advised the prime minister that support for the measure would signal a shift in Pakistan’s position following its earlier abstention on a similar resolution, the intelligence document says.

Pakistan had the ability to negotiate trade and energy deals with Russia, and backing the Western-backed resolution could jeopardise those ties, the aide noted. When the UN General Assembly voted Feb 23, Pakistan was among 32 countries that abstained.

The American publication’s story comes at a time when Pakistan placed its first order for discounted Russian crude oil under a new deal struck between Islamabad and Moscow, the country’s petroleum minister said, with one cargo to dock at Karachi port in May.

The deal will see Pakistan buy crude oil only, not refined fuels, and imports are expected to reach 100,000 barrels per day if the first transaction goes through smoothly, Minister Musadik Malik told Reuters.

“Our orders are in, we have placed that already,” he said.

“Yes it is true that we will be getting only crude, not refined oil,” Malik said in response to confirm sources information whether that’s correct.

He said Pakistan’s Refinery Limited (PRL) will initially refine the Russian crude, with other refineries to be included later after a trial run.

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