Pakistan Weighs Decision on Ukraine Peace Summit Amidst Russia's Absence
Pakistan Weighs Decision on Ukraine Peace Summit Amidst Russia's Absence

Pakistan finds itself at a crossroads as it contemplates whether to attend the upcoming global summit in Lucerne, Switzerland, aimed at fostering peace in Ukraine. With the event set to begin on June 15, the Pakistani government remains undecided, caught between the geopolitical tensions of the region and its key strategic partnerships.

The summit, initiated at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has garnered participation from over 90 countries, but notably, both Russia and China have decided not to attend. China's absence, Pakistan's closest strategic ally, poses a critical factor in Islamabad's decision-making process.

While Pakistan has maintained a neutral stance on Russia's conflict with Ukraine, it faces significant implications. The country has deep-rooted defense ties with Ukraine, having acquired substantial weaponry from the nation over the past three decades. Simultaneously, Pakistan seeks to strengthen its relationship with Russia, a potential supplier of oil.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, spokesperson for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, confirmed the receipt of the Swiss invitation but stated that the decision to participate is still under discussion. This deliberation underscores the complexities involved in Pakistan's foreign policy strategy.

Tughral Yamin, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad, emphasized the importance of Pakistan's presence at the summit. "Pakistan must attend the summit. It has stakes in the war. We have strong defense relations with Ukraine, whereas we are trying to build strong ties with Russia as well which can provide us oil, so attending this makes complete sense," he stated.

Fahd Humayun, an assistant professor of political science at Tufts University, echoed this sentiment, highlighting Pakistan's role in advocating for a peaceful resolution while maintaining a neutral stance. "It will signal that we are partners in de-escalating a global conflict, rather than picking sides. That point can be deftly signaled in advance to all stakeholders," he added.

As Pakistan continues to navigate its diplomatic tightrope walk between Russia and Ukraine, the decision to attend the summit will shape its international standing and strategic interests in the region.

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