With cheap oil and $4b loan in focus, PM Imran heads to Saudi Arabia on economy-centric tour

11:56 AM | 18 Sep, 2018
With cheap oil and $4b loan in focus, PM Imran heads to Saudi Arabia on economy-centric tour
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan will embark on his first official visit to Saudi Arabia as chief executive of the country, with a couple of economy-centric historic agreements expected to be inked between the two countries.

Imran Khan, who swept to power in the July 25 polls, would leave for the holy kingdom today on a two-day visit where he will meet Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and ambitious Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman besides performing Umrah and paying a visit to the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH).

The diplomatic sources in Pakistan comprehend the tour to be of prominence as both the countries are expected to sign historic agreements; the sources claim that Saudi Arabia would provide crude oil at 20 per cent discount to Pakistan for a period of five years in a bid to bolster its economy.

Moreover, an agreement regarding the establishment of an oil refinery in Gwadar would also be signed, in a major boost to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

According to the unofficial terms of reference (TOR), the Oil-rich state would join hands with China to build the oil refinery at an area spanning 80,000 acres in Gwadar.

Pakistan’s leading publication, Daily Pakistan holds the distinction of being the first one to report the Saudi investments in the multi-billion dollars CPEC and the oil refinery.

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PM Khan’s visit is crucial as issues pertaining to the involvement of Saudi Arabia in CPEC and Gwadar would be discussed at length.

The cash-strapped Pakistan is in dire need of some 9 billion US Dollars for paying back the loans and strengthen its economy. The petro-state has already expressed its willingness to grant loans worth $4b through banks under its influence.

The government sources detail that shortly after the visit of premier Imran Khan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) would pay a visit to Pakistan followed by the visit of Saudi King Salman, who is expected to visit the country in January.

Even before the start of the tour, the political observers affirm that Imran Khan would bag a massive victory on the diplomatic front through his first official visit to the Hydrocarbon-rich state.

Imran Khan would be flanked by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar and advisor to PM on commerce, textiles, industries and investment, Abdul Razak Dawood.

Besides the engagements of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the ministers would also meet their Saudi counterparts in the two-day visit.

Moreover, Saudi leader Shah Salman would also host a dinner in the honour of Pakistan’s incumbent premier.

Imran Khan’s state-visit would include meeting the Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen.

Pakistan’s prime minister would top up the visit to Saudi Arabia by heading to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday evening to meet Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both the leaders would discuss matters of mutual interest.