SEP 18, 2018: In his first trip abroad after being sworn-in as the Prime Minister, Imran Khan is on a two-day state visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
Pakistan flags were displayed on Jeddah roads as Khan Sahib and his high powered delegation landed in the kingdom today (Tuesday).
He is accompanied by key ministers: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, minister for foreign affairs; Asad Umar, minister for finance; Fawad Chaudhry, minister for Information, and adviser to the PM on commerce Mr. Razzaq Dawood.
Saudi Arabia is expected to grant a special economic package to Pakistan in order to rescue its crippling economy during PM Khan’s visit.
Highly placed official sources said the issue would come under discussion during talks between Saudi King Salman and PM Imran Khan.
Sources said Saudi economic facility would be in shape of oil supply approximately eight billions dollars which would ease Pakistan’s foreign payments pressure to large extend.
The two sides will also discuss investments and trade, with Pakistan seeking to offer the kingdom investment opportunities for the latter’s $224 billion sovereign wealth fund called the Public Investments Fund (PIF), sources said.
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.
Foreign office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal said during the visit, PM Imran would also hold a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad.
Bilateral relations, regional security situation including the Middle East situation and issues confronting Muslim Ummah would also come under discussion.
The King will also host a state banquet for PM Imran and his delegation at the Royal Court. Accompanying ministers and members of the delegation will also meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation.
PM Khan is also expected to interact with Pakistani expats — the kingdom hosting the highest population of Pakistani Diaspora — 2.7 million who have been remitting the highest amount of money home for decades. The Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia last week also donated Rs65 million (US$520,000) to the Dams Fund with Rs20 million additional as pledge.
During the visit, the Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, will also meet PM Imran.
The prime minister will also perform Umra and visit Madinah to pay his respects
The spokesman said after completion of Saudi visit, PM Imran along with his delegation would depart for the UAE where they will be received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.