Saudi Crown Prince to visit Pakistan, likely to announce USD 8 billion investment projects

Islamabad: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is soon expected to arrive in Pakistan for a brief visit and is likely to announce investment projects worth about USD 15 billion in the cash-strapped country, a media report said Tuesday.

The dates of the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler are currently being discussed and considered for finalisation, Geo News reported, quoting diplomatic sources.

The report said it was likely that the powerful prince will announce investment worth almost USD 15 billion in Pakistan.

Pakistan, reeling under severe financial crisis, has reached out to some “friendly countries” for economic assistance including Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE since Prime Minister Khan assumed office in August.

In October, Saudi Arabia agreed to provide a USD 6 billion package to Pakistan to support its ailing economy.

The package included USD 3 billion balance of payments support and USD 3 billion in deferred payments on oil import.

Pakistan on Sunday said the UAE has “almost finalised” investment plan for the setting up of an oil refinery in the country as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan met Prime Minister Khan.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the UAE had already promised to provide USD 3 billion assistance and the Crown Prince also discussed investment to set up an oil refinery.

Pakistan is negotiating a USD 8 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country’s economy.

Pakistan apprehends the IMF will come with stringent conditions of austerity besides scrutiny of USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects whose terms till now remained confidential.

The Trump administration is making all efforts to ensure that any IMF loan to Pakistan is not used to repay its Chinese debt.

The announcement of the Crown Prince’s visit comes in the wake of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

The Crown Prince has faced intense global criticism for the killing.

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