PM Imran, Saudi king discuss ways to boost bilateral ties

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to discuss bolstering bilateral relations and investment between the two countries, according to a statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Hussain, Advisor for Trade Abdul Razzaq Daud and Pakistan’s ambassador Hashim bin Siddique were also present at the meeting.

Imran was welcomed with a guard of honour at the Saudi king’s palace.

PHOTO: PTI MEDIA CELL

PHOTO: PTI MEDIA CELL

Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Hussain, Advisor for Trade Abdul Razzaq Daud and Pakistan’s ambassador Hashim bin Siddique were also present at the meeting.

Imran was welcomed with a guard of honor at the Saudi king’s palace.

Earlier, Imran met with the Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef Al-Othaimeen during his two-day trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Durrani and Ambassador to KSA Khan Hasham bin Saddique attended the meeting.

In his meeting with Saudi FM Adel al Jubeir, Qureshi stressed on ‘strong’ bilateral ties between the two countries.

PM Imran landed in Madina on Tuesday and was accompanied by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Special Assistant to the PM on commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood.

The prime minister was received by Madina Governor Prince Faisal bin Salman, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham bin Saddique, Saudi authorities and official of the consulate.

After offering prayers at the Grand Mosque, the entourage headed to the holy city of Makkah to perform Umrah.

PM Imran is visiting Saudi Arabia on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Although bilateral relations and regional security situation would come under discussions, the inclusion of finance minister in the prime minister’s entourage suggests Islamabad is likely to seek financial help to stave off another International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

PHOTO: EXPRESS

The PTI government is considering several options to shore up the fast depleting foreign exchange reserves. It is trying to avoid going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and instead desires to reach out to friendly countries — including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China — for financial assistance.

Speculation is rife in the media that Saudi Arabia may deposit a certain amount in Pakistan’s exchequer so that the new government may have the necessary cushion given the current state of foreign exchange reserves.

In another option, Saudi Arabia may offer Pakistan oil on deferred payments as it did following the 1998 nuclear explosions when Islamabad was under crippling international economic sanctions.

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