Russia is known having history of political interference in several countries. In recent years, the Russian government was accuse of meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. One way that it allegedly interfered was by demanding Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) clear its dues. PIA’s loans to buy new aircraft not fully paid off and this caused the airline financial problems. When Russia demanded PIA to pay off its debts, it gave the airline little choice but to pay up. In this case, it appears that Russia was interfering for political reasons and not for any other reason.
It doesn’t means that Russia is always trying to interfere in other countries politics. But it does show that Russia is willing to do whatever is necessary to get what it wants. PIA given a deadline by the Russian government to pay back state-owned assets to avoid being liquidate. It is believed that PIA owes $2.1 billion in unpaid taxes and plane lease fees. Somehow, Russia will not allow PIA to liquidated as it holds strategic interest in Pakistan’s security and stability.
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Russia will likely use economic leverage to force PIA to pay back its debts owed to Russian companies. If the deadline is not met, it could lead to PIA’s liquidation, which may cause many problems for Pakistan. The airline industry is one of the country’s most important sectors. Removing it from the market would have serious implications for other industries as well.
As the war between Russia and Ukraine is in full swing. The international sanctions have made it pretty hard to pay back Russia. A PIA spokesperson has said that due to the failure in payment of the debt owed to the Russian government, PIA flights can no longer utilize the Russian Airspace. The repayment of the enormous amount of debt loan to PIA has made significantly important due to the economic sanctions weighted upon Russia amid the Russia-Ukraine War.
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