The so-called “bombs-for-ransom” deal, first reported by investigative website The Interceptforced Islamabad to abandon its neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, even as Washington prioritized protecting Ukraine over promoting democracy in Pakistan.
The Intercept said that earlier this year a source within the Pakistani military leaked to it records detailing weapons transactions. The documents outline ammunition sales agreed upon between the United States and Pakistan from summer 2022 to spring 2023, he added.
The Biden administration and the IMF denied the story, but Intercept said its information was based on documents describing the money trail, U.S. and Pakistani contracts, licenses and requisition documents related to U.S.-brokered deals to buy Pakistani military weapons for Ukraine.
Is Imran’s ouster and arms deal part of US ‘forgiveness package’ for Pakistan?
Some of the documents were authenticated by matching the signature of an American brigadier general with his signature on publicly available mortgage records in the US; matching Pakistani documents with corresponding US documents; and reviewing publicly available but previously unreported Pakistani disclosures about arms sales to the United States published by the State Bank of Pakistan,” investigative website The Intercept said.
Noting that Pakistan is known as a production center for the types of basic ammunition needed for intense warfare, the Intercept reported that while Ukraine faced a chronic shortage of ammunition and equipment, the presence of shells and other munitions produced in Pakistan by the Ukrainian military has emerged in open source news reports about the conflict, although neither the United States nor the Pakistanis have recognized the agreement.
The arms deals were brokered by Global Military Products, a subsidiary of Global Ordnance, a controversial arms dealer with “entanglements with disreputable figures in Ukraine,” he said.
The transaction “is a window into the kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering among financial and political elites that is rarely exposed to the public, even when the public pays the price,” he added, with extensive exposition on Washington’s role in encourage Pakistani army to overthrow Imran Khanwho took an “aggressively neutral” stance on the war in Ukraine, sparking protests and riots across the country.
The report says Washington warned of dire consequences if Khan remained in power and promised that “all would be forgiven” if he were removed. Part of the forgiveness package was apparently the IMF bailout. “Economic capital and political goodwill from arms sales played a key role in helping secure the IMF bailout, and the State Department agreed to trust the IMF with respect to the undisclosed arms deal, according to sources with knowledge of the agreement, and confirmed by a related document,” he added.