Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday left for Kuala Lumpur on a two-day official visit to Malaysia where he is likely to seek monetary assistance to minimise cash-strapped Pakistan’s dependence on an IMF bailout package. Prime Minister Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umer, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Radio Pakistan reported. This is Khan’s first bilateral visit to Malaysia after assuming office in August.
Prime Minister Khan and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad will have a tete-a-tete, followed by the delegation-level talks, the Foreign Office said. The two countries enjoy warm brotherly relations founded in mutual respect friendship and understanding reinforced by strong cultural and religious affinities, the Foreign Office said in a statement last week. Khan’s visit “would provide an opportunity to further cement the existing friendly and cordial bilateral relations by enhancing economic, trade and commercial ties, for our mutual benefit,” the statement said. Pakistan was facing a USD 12 billion financing gap for the current fiscal year.
The Pakistan government is keen to minimise the amount borrowed from the International Monetary Fund by getting loans from “friendly” countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia as officials here believe that the global lender could attach tough conditions. On Sunday, Khan visited the UAE where he held talks with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and discussed matters of bilateral, regional and mutual interest, amid reports that the Gulf country is ready to extend financial assistance to Pakistan. Early this month, Prime Minister Khan visited China, which reportedly agreed to provide USD 6 billion in aid to Pakistan. Last month, Saudi Arabia said it would provide Pakistan with a USD 6 billion rescue package during Khan’s visit to the Gulf Kingdom.