Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Abu Dhabi on a day-long visit on Sunday amid reports that the United Arab Emirates is ready to extend financial assistance to Pakistan.
According to Radio Pakistan, the invitation for the visit was extended by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
“Matters of bilateral, regional and global interest will be discussed in the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince,” the the Prime Minister’s Office said on Saturday.
PM Khan is expected to meet with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE.
This is the prime minister’s second trip to the UAE in two months.
During his last visit to Abu Dhabi on Sept 19, the two countries had agreed to strengthen their economic, trade and investment relations.
The government had, during a later visit of an Emirati delegation to Islamabad, made a formal request for assistance.
The signals from the UAE were positive and the government was hopeful of getting what officials are calling “a good package”.
Some say it would be comparable with the Saudi bailout of $6 billion — $3bn in balance of payments support and a deferred payment facility on oil imports worth $3bn.
The UAE is one of the major oil suppliers to Pakistan.
The government has also been in talks with the Chinese government for an assistance package after PM Khan’s visit to Beijing. However, the outcome of the negotiations are still unknown. It is believed that China has asked for more discussion on the matter.
Meanwhile, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan facility are concluding next week, with Finance Minister Asad Umar optimistic about reaching a basic agreement with the Fund by November 20.
Umar had, after the trip to China, announced that the impending balance of payments crisis had been averted after Beijing and Riyadh’s pledges of help.
Umar has in a TV interview said: “Where we stand today, the current account deficit may total $12-13bn this [fiscal] year.”