Pakistan PM Imran Khan to visit Saudi for second time: Report

PTI Islamabad, Pakistan Oct 18, 2018, 11.13 PM(IST)

File photo of Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia on October 23, his second to the cash-rich kingdom in just over a month, a media report said Thursday as Pakistan tried to keep its economy afloat.

Quoted unnamed sources, Geo News reported that Khan will visit Saudi Arabia for a day before his maiden visit to China from November 3. 

He is expected to hold talks on economic cooperation with Saudi officials during his visit, it said.

Khan, who assumed office in August, last toured Saudi Arabia on September 18 and met King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

After that, he visited the United Arab Emirates for talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

The report also said that a top-level delegation from the United Arab Emirates will visit Pakistan soon to discuss expanding economic cooperation. 

The news about the possibility of Prime Minister Khan visiting Saudi Arabia for a second time came after he told senior editors on Wednesday that Pakistan may not have to approach the IMF for loans as it has received "positive" responses from some "friendly countries". 

Khan said his government was in touch with some "friendly countries" and has sought cooperation to address the mounting balance of payments deficit and dwindling foreign currency reserves.

Though he did not name any countries, Pakistani media has reported that the government was consulting allies like China and Saudi Arabia for financial help.

"Their response is positive. I am quite hopeful that we will not have to approach the International Monetary Fund for our economic needs," he was quoted as saying by The News.

Islamabad formally approached the IMF last week for a bailout to tide over the economic crisis.

But some tough talking by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and the US on Pakistan's bailout plan, demanding absolute transparency on the country's debts, including those owned by China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, has upset Islamabad.

Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar has said the government don't want to fully rely on the IMF and would do anything to bring improvement in the economy. 

He said the loan programme with the IMF is almost final, but the government will have to see that the IMF does not place any "undoable conditions" for Pakistan in return.