No hidden deal with Saudi Arabia: FM Qureshi

No hidden deal with Saudi Arabia: FM Qureshi

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Saudi Arabia's Dollars 6 billion assistance package has eased pressure on Pakistan's depleting foreign exchange reserves and the time is not far when the country would be offering loans to the others instead of borrowing.

Mr Khan has the political space to seek a financial bailout package as his government deems necessary; no one has denied the need for a bailout and the accusations of the opposition ring hollow because they fared little better when in office.

He further said there were great investment opportunities in Pakistan, and the Pakistani community was playing important role in the development of Saudi Arabia. An IMF team is due to visit Pakistan to open negotiations on November 7.

The prime minister's attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Foreign currency reserves, now at a four-year low, are equivalent to less than two months' imports and barely enough to allow debt repayments for the rest of the 2018.

The $6 billion package, combining a $3 billion loan to shore up Pakistan's depleting foreign currency reserves and $3 billion in deferred oil payments, far exceeded analyst expectations of what Saudi Arabia would offer.

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This was announced by not less than Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his address to the nation on Wednesday evening, on his return from the Kingdom.

The deal comes after a previous visit by Khan to Riyadh, his first overseas trip since taking office in July, failed to produce significant results.

Separately from the Saudi influx, Pakistan is also seeking an International Monetary Fund loan. He said prime minister's visit has great significance, during which, Salman bin Abdulaziz demonstrated extraordinary warmth for him.

The benchmark KSE 100 index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange gained 1,556 points or 4.13 per cent in intra-day trading to push the index to 39,271 points. "We will also discuss housing". It also gave oil on deferred payments in the 1990s, but Pakistan never repaid the amount, according to a media report quoting officials of the finance ministry.

The $6 billion total exceeds forecasts by analysts and will likely reduce the size of any bailout Pakistan it receives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with whom it is now engaged in talks on a rescue package.

The veteran trade leader said it is good omen that Saudi Arabia is too investing in CPEC, a harbinger of prosperity and progress for Pakistan as our future depends on the success of this mega project.

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