Imran Khan to jet off to KSA, Riyadh, for his foreign trip as PM today

Imran Khan to jet off to KSA, Riyadh, for his foreign trip as PM today

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Islamabad (AFP) – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will head to Riyadh on Tuesday for his first foreign visit since coming to power, officials said.

The two-day trip to Saudi Arabia begins exactly one month after he assumed office, which, according to  Pakistan’s foreign  office statement, was arranged   on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

The state visit was arranged on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The cricketer-turned-politician will call on King Salman and hold bilateral talks with the Crown Prince in Riyadh, it said, adding that the king will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the royal court.

“The Prime Minister will meet Saudi leadership and will discuss regional and international issues,” another senior government official told AFP.

Khan and his cabinet face challenges including a faltering economy, militant extremism, water shortages and a rapidly growing population.

The most pressing is a looming balance-of-payments crisis, with analysts predicting Pakistan will have to go to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

There has been recent speculation in local media that Pakistan is eyeing Saudi Arabia and China to provide loans worth billion of dollars in order to rescue Islamabad from the economic crisis and from going back to the IMF.

Pakistani media accounts of a reported $2 billion loan from China and another $4.5 billion from Saudi Arabia have not been confirmed. Any Saudi funds would only be used to buy oil.

Powerful Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has already arrived in Beijing on an three-day official visit, the military said Sunday.

“During the visit COAS (Bajwa) will interact with various Chinese leaders including his counterpart,” it said.

Imran Khan will also perform Umra and pay a visit to Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH). The prime minister along with delegation will later arrive in Abu Dhabi in the evening on September 19.

In a telephonic call on August 12, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz had congratulated PM Imran on his victory in the July 25 parliamentary elections.

Mr. Khan and his delegation will go to the UAE from Saudi Arabia.

He will arrive in Abu Dhabi on September 19 on the invitation of Mohammaed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the UAE. The two leaders will discuss bilateral issues.

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