No hidden deal with Saudi Arabia: FM Qureshi


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during his upcoming four-day trip to China, Radio Pakistan has reported.

Khan's speech comes after Pakistan announced that they secured loans to the tune of Dollars 6 billion in talks held with Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

Growing global outrage over the murder of journalist and Saudi government critic Khashoggi has overshadowed the Riyadh conference, expected to run until Thursday. We were facing really hard times.

The Prime Minister also said that the government was in contact with two other friendly countries for more financial assistance.

"Our government's policy is very simple, we have removed all hurdles from the way of investors", he said.

Khan's statement was an admission of Pakistan's dire need for financial support given the country's dire economic position when he took power.

According to sources, the visa fees for Pakistanis will be also reduced. However, it is the second time when Saudi Arabia bailed out Pakistan during last 4 years.

He also defended the Foreign Ministry against accusations of incompetence in dealing with the incident, saying, "Such criticisms are unfair, because the Foreign Ministry has used all the means at its disposal, which are nothing but diplomatic and political measures in Tehran and Islamabad to resolve the issue".

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Analysts have often accused both Iran and Saudi Arabia of waging a proxy war in Pakistan where sectarian violence has often been deadly. He said Pakistan was at risk of going into default if it did not secure aid from friendly countries as well as the International Monetary Fund, and that without the Saudi aid, the country would have had to seek a much larger bailout from the global lender.

"Pakistan's economic crisis is too big to be resolved by Saudi financing alone". The country still has another $12 billion shortage to cover.

But some tough talking by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and the United States 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.

When he was an opposition figure, Mr Khan seemed to understand that and hence decried the secret deal that the previous PML-N rulers had struck with the Saudis in return for a loan.

"The deferred payment for oil is a good development as well".

The package includes $3bn balance of payments support and another $3bn in deferred payments on oil imports, Dawn reported. Pakistan faces a current account deficit of $18 billion.

The IMF's eye would be on Pakistan's financial dependence on China, a matter the USA has highlighted, saying the IMF's dollars could be used by Islamabad to pay off Beijing.

The foreign minister told the media on Wednesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was not considering any change in Pakistan's role in the Islamic Military Alliance. Turkey does not need us, we need Turkey.