Pakistan PM Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia again undertaking his second visit to the kingdom in less than five weeks. PM Khan to seek financial support from Riyadh and avoid taking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to speculations, Saudi Arabia may be ready to help, but there might be “Iranian” strings attached with the aid.
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“PM Imran Khan will visit Riyadh from October 22 to 23,” said sources in the PM’s Office. The visit will take place two weeks before the start of talks with the IMF for a bailout package, scheduled for November 7.
“The PM will try to persuade the Saudi royal family to approve some financial assistance, as Islamabad is looking for at least $5 billion from Saudi Arabia and China,” said the highly-placed government sources.
The news of the second visit to Saudi Arabia came a day after the PM disclosed that his government may still avoid going to the IMF. However, on the same day, Finance Minister Asad Umar told a news channel that the IMF programme was still on the government’s agenda.
Islamabad faces stiff hurdles in meeting its international financial obligations, as Pakistan’s gross official foreign currency reserves have reduced to $8.1 billion. Such low reserves have weakened the country’s negotiating position with the IMF that is demanding steep currency devaluation and double-digit interest rate.