Speakers at a webinar on Saturday highlighted the importance of a fast-track implementation of the agreements reached between Russia and Pakistan in the energy sector, terming it crucial for the economic uplift of the energy-starved country. The webinar titled “Russo-Pak Economic and Energy Cooperation, Scope and Challenges” was organized by Devcom-Pakistan (Development Communications network) and DTN. Former Senator Lt. General (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum was the keynote speaker, while among other participants were foreign affairs expert Dr Salma Malik, energy and environment expert Qaiser Aijaz, and Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed, besides Hussain Ali Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarah Khan, Natasha Jameel, Maliha and Ayan Mitra. Abdul Qayyum said the recent Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Russia were a long-awaited icebreaking that could lead to an important partnership and investments in the defence, oil and gas sectors of Pakistan after the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said Pakistan needed sustainable and balanced foreign relations while increasing its exports, and attracting more foreign investment. He stressed political stability and consistency of policies, declaring them as a ‘key’ to achieving steady national development and prosperity. Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said a comprehensive Russo-Pak Energy Corridor was ‘very crucial’ for both countries at this point. Munir Ahmed said it was high time for both countries to think about the larger and more comprehensive Russo-Pak Energy Corridor (RPEC), similar to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Dr Salma Malik termed the Pakistan-Russia energy cooperation a “welcomed step” that needs to be viewed with cautious optimism, given the larger geo-economic dynamics. Qaiser Aijaz said the Russo-Pak economic and energy development cooperation had a history, recalling that Pakistan’s first five-year plan of 1950 was based on the Russian Economic Model and subsequent provision of technical and financial support in the promotion of the oil and gas development sector in 1960 and establishment of Pakistan Steel Mills in the 1970s. He said Russia-Pakistan Economic and Energy Cooperation had a huge potential to grow and was expected to develop further on a fast-track basis.