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Imran will attend Saudi investment meet
By Tariq Butt / Agencies October 20, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia to attend the Future Investment Initiative Conference (FIIC) on the “special invitation” of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

The premier will travel to Riyadh on Oct.23 to participate in the first of the two-day conference, which will host businessmen and “representatives of hi-tech industry” from around the world.

The statement said that the moot will serve as an opportunity to interact with important business leaders who are interested in investing in Pakistan.

It added that Imran Khan’s participation in the conference is aimed at projecting Pakistan’s economic and investment potential and the [premier’s] vision of the country in the five years to come.

The release said he will also meet the king and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss “matters of mutual interest.”

The prime minister’s participation in the conference signifies Pakistan’s “solidarity with the Kingdom in its efforts to become emerging hub of international business and investment,” the statement said.

SECOND VISIT

This will be Imran Khan’s second visit to Saudi Arabia since he assumed office in August this year.

Officials hope that during his visit the prime minister will talk about Saudi oil facility on deferred payments to meet the grave financial challenges Pakistan is faced with.

In view of this expectation, Imran Khan recently indicated that Pakistan might not go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance as it was talking to its friends for help.

“The prime minister will try to convince the Saudi royal family to approve some financial assistance, as the country is looking for at least $5 billion in cash from Saudi Arabia and China,” said the highly-placed government sources.

Pakistan faces a total financing gap of $12 billion for the remainder period of the current fiscal year that it wants to fill by exploring various options.

Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that the prime minister would visit Saudi Arabia next week.

However, he described the purpose of the visit as attending an international investment conference being held in Riyadh.

The minister said the government had declared attracting foreign investment as one of its top priorities.

“Last year, $22 trillion investment commitments were made at the Riyadh investment conference and this year there are expectations for $23 trillion investment commitments,” said Chaudhry, hoping that Pakistan would also succeed in winning commitments from foreign investors.

Responding to a question whether Pakistan can still avoid the IMF programme after the Saudi visit, the minister replied, “The (PM’s) visit to Saudi Arabia will help strengthen Pakistan’s negotiating position against other institutions.”

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