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Fawad credits PM Imran for Pakistan's respect in the Muslim world

23 October 2018

Saudi Arabia had also given oil on deferred payments in the 1990s, but Pakistan never repaid the amount, according to the officials of the finance ministry.

It is Khan's second visit to Saudi Arabia in just over a month, but he has not succeeded in securing significant financial assistance to stave off a looming balance of payment crisis. "We're desperate at the moment", he said.

During the visit, the Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Mr. Asad Umar, Minister for Information Mr. Fawad Ahmed and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Mr. Abdul Razaq Dawood, and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Mr. Haroon Sharif.

The prime minister's attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The reason I feel I have to avail myself of this opportunity is because in a country of 210 million people right now we have the worst debt crisis in our history", he was quoted as saying.

Speaking at the high-profile Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Mr. Khan said Pakistan wants "peace with all our neighbours particularly India and Afghanistan for regional peace and stability". New Delhi's reaction was triggered by Khan's tweet, where he alleged that Indian troops killed "innocent" people in Kashmir.

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The Prime Minister arrived in Madina on 22 October, where he was received by Governor, Prince Faisal bin Salman.

The prime minister is keen to avoid the International Monetary Fund bailout package and had requested Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates for placement of deposits in the central bank to artificially inflate the foreign currency reserves.

The Foreign Office said the Saudi delegation had evaluated the possibility of investing in setting up a petroleum refinery in Pakistan during a visit in October. Matters of mutual interest will be discussed.

The PM's participation in first day of the conference was aimed at projecting Pakistan's economic and investment potential as well as its vision for the next five years.

The visit also comes as Pakistan's central bank warned this week that inflation would likely double in the coming year - hitting 7.5 per cent - while the country's growth target rate of 6.2 per cent would likely be missed.

During the visit, Premier Imran Khan had detailed bilateral discussions with His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, and His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Fawad credits PM Imran for Pakistan's respect in the Muslim world