Russian minister in Islamabad to offer investment in heavy industry

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky and Pakistan's Ministry of Energy Additional Secretary Sher Afgan Khan sign a memorandum of understanding in Moscow, Russia on Sept. 27, 2018. (Photo by Russian Energy Ministry)
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Updated 10 December 2019

Russian minister in Islamabad to offer investment in heavy industry

  • Russians are interested in Pakistan’s energy, oil and gas, defense and steel sectors
  • Russian delegation is in Islamabad to attend Inter-Governmental Commission meeting

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have agreed to expand business and trade ties, with investment in the energy, oil and gas and defense, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

A delegation of 64 Russian officials, led by Trade and Industries Minister Denis Manturov, discussed the plans with Pakistani stakeholders at a meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Energy in Islamabad on Monday.

“The Russian delegation is here to expand ties with Pakistan and engage in trade and business worth billions of dollars. They are interested in three major sectors – energy, oil and gas, and defense,” Babar said.

“In its first phase, Pakistan is going to auction 12 blocks of E&P (exploration and production) this month. Russians are very much interested in this auction,” he added.

“They have representatives of oil and gas companies with them in this delegation, who discussed different projects and showed interest in bidding for these blocks. We are very hopeful that they will take a few blocks in this auction which would be a first as they have never operated in Pakistan before,” he said.

Russian companies are also interested to build a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, Babar said. “We hope to sign an agreement on this in the next two months as both sides have agreed on many things. We have many meetings on this and after this visit, we hope all remaining issues will be solved.”

He said Pakistan and Russia have also discussed an agreement, which was signed earlier, for the laying of more than 1,500 kilometers of an offshore gas pipeline that would transport natural gas from Russia to Pakistan.

Babar said Russia has also shown interest in the rehabilitation and upgrading of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and wants to invest $1 billion. He added, however, that “other countries are also interested in Steel Mills.”

Sergey Vasiliev, director of Russia-Pakistan Business Forum who is in the delegation, told Arab News the visit will be good for removing trade and investment obstacles between the two countries, and for improving business to business contacts.

As Pakistan’s image has lately improved in Russia, “Russian businessmen are more interested in the oil and gas and energy sectors,” he said.

“We are discussing collaboration with Pakistan Steel Mills, so new technology from Russia can enhance its production. We are also ready to provide support in the field of agriculture, especially in increasing storage capacity for local food items and fruits.”

A major breakthrough in Pakistan-Russia relations was the signing of an agreement in Moscow on Dec. 4 by Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak and Pakistani Ambassador Qazi Khalilullah, whereby Pakistan will repay its $93.5 million debt to Russia, he said.

On Wednesday, the delegation is scheduled to attend an inter-governmental commission meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Indonesia repatriates red-notice fugitive to Pakistan

Updated 23 January 2020

Indonesia repatriates red-notice fugitive to Pakistan

  • Muhammad Luqman was living under a fake identity in North Sumatra
  • He was suspected of committing two murders and was named in five different cases in his home country

JAKARTA/KARACHI: The Indonesian police on Thursday repatriated a Pakistani fugitive who had been living in Asahan district of North Sumatra for the past two years and was arrested by the authorities on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old man, identified as Muhammad Luqman Butt, alias Husein Shah or M. Firman, was flown from Medan to Jakarta, where he was handed over to the Pakistani police in the presence of officials from the Pakistan embassy, Secretary of the National Central Bureau of Interpol, Indonesia, Brig. Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte told Arab News.

This photograph released by Tribunnews shows Muhammad Luqman Butt's Indonesian identity card, top, bearing the name M. Firman with his photo and citing Asahan as his place of birth, and his driver’s license. (Photo courtesy: Tribunnews)

“We received the red notice from the Interpol that he was on the wanted list. We detected that he was in North Sumatra, so the Pakistani police coordinated with us and we cooperated with our colleagues in the province to arrest him on Tuesday,” Bonaparte said.
However, he refused to confirm the offense Butt had committed, saying it was not the jurisdiction of Indonesian police to probe the Pakistani fugitive further.
According to police sources in Pakistan, Luqman had five different cases registered against him in three different police stations of the eastern city of Gujranwala. He was suspected of committing two murders, and the Pakistani authorities had announced a bounty of Rs200,000 ($1293) on his head.
“We did what we had to do as part of our commitment to being a member of Interpol. We detected, located, arrested, and handed the fugitive over to his home country’s law enforcement officials,” Bonaparte said, adding that he hoped his Pakistani counterparts would extend the Indonesian police the same cooperation should an Indonesian fugitive was detected to be on the run in Pakistan.

Source: Punjab Police

National Police Spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono told Arab News that Butt was arrested on Tuesday from his rented house in Asahan where he had been living with his 33-year-old Indonesian wife, Evi Lili Midati, for the past five months.
Both the fugitive and his wife had been detained at the North Sumatra police headquarters in Medan. During questioning, Butt confessed to have murdered a family in his home country.
“He has been in Indonesia for the past two years and was living in Asahan for the last five months with his wife whom he had married in Medan a year ago,” Yuwono said.
He entered the country from Malaysia on a wooden boat and had traveled to different parts of Indonesia before he decided to settle in Asahan where he worked as a driver, having obtained an Indonesian driver’s license with his fake identity.
The police seized from Butt’s residence his Indonesian identity card bearing the name M. Firman and citing Asahan as his place of birth, a driver’s license, and his marriage certificate.