Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Imran Khan leaves for Saudi conference saying Pakistan 'desperate' for loans

PM Imran Khan PM Imran Khan
Jeannette Daniel | 23 October, 2018, 14:22

In a phone call on Monday, the two discussed a number of regional issues just months after former cricketer Imran Khan assumed office as Pakistan's prime minister.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan left for Saudi Arabia to attend an investment conference boycotted by other leaders over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khan is visiting Saudi Arabia on a special invitation of King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz to attend the conference titled "Davos in the Desert".

He told the Middle East Eye that he was concerned over the "shocking" death of Khashoggi, a USA resident and Washington Post columnist, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"Pakistan's anti-terror campaign has proved to be efficacious but threats of terror activities continue to emanate from war-torn Afghanistan", stated Khan while adding at the same time that Pakistan remains committed to peaceful relations with all countries.

Dr Farrukh said "We are trying to open other avenues so that both countries can have closer ties, increase economic cooperation and have Saudi companies invest in Pakistan".

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Islamabad has already asked the International Monetary Fund to open negotiations for the country's second potential bailout in five years.

The central bank's foreign reserves dropped this month to US$8.1 billion (RM33.65 billion), a four-year low and barely enough to cover sovereign debt payments due through the end of the year. The current account deficit has swelled to about $18 billion.

He told the Middle East Eye that he was concerned over the "shocking" death of Khashoggi, a USA resident and Washington Post columnist, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The question has been raised in many forums, and I presume the Saudi Arabian government will have to come up with answers for what happened.

"Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India", he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls in India scheduled to take place by mid-May. "We hope there is an explanation that satisfies people and those responsible are punished". Saudi Arabia has been widely blamed for the journalist's disappearance. "The Trump administration is moving towards one", he told the newspaper.

Mohamed bin Zayed discusses bilateral ties with the Pakistani Prime Minister over a phone call, together with a number of regional and worldwide issues of mutual interest.

PM Imran's participation in the conference "signifies our solidarity with the Kingdom in its efforts to become an emerging hub of global business and investment", the Foreign Office stated further. PM Imran further said he has spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about boosting investment ties between the two countries.

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