Jamal Khashoggi: How Pakistan ‘ignored’ journalist’s murder to secure Saudi loan

While many pulled out of the ongoing Saudi investment summit citing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Pakistani PM Imran Khan chose to rub shoulders with the Saudis to seal a bailout package. Social media reacts.

Pakistani authorities announced on Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan managed to secure a $6 billion (€5.25 billion) bailout package from Saudi Arabia to avoid further deterioration of the South Asian country’s economy.

“A MoU (memorandum of understanding) was signed between Finance Minister Asad Umar and the Saudi Finance Minister Muhammad Abdullah Al-Jadaan. It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of USD 3 Billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

It was further “agreed that a one year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to $3 billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the second edition of the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

US activists protest against arms sales to Riyadh amid Khashoggi murder

A number of world leaders had boycotted the Saudi summit, also called “Davos in the desert.” The reason behind staying away from the high-profile investment conference was the criticism over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi royal family has come under sharp scrutiny over the journalist’s killing, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming on Tuesday that the Saudis had “planned” Khashoggi’s assassination.

But Khan, who won the July 25 general election and was inaugurated as prime minister in August, chose to look the other way on the Khashoggi killing.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper earlier this week, Khan said that although the murder of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest critics “shocked” him, the reason he was visiting Riyadh was “to take this opportunity because we are a country of 210 million people and we have the worst debt crisis in our history.”

“We are desperate for money,” Khan added. “Unless we get loans from friendly countries or IMF, we actually won’t have foreign exchange to either service our debts or to pay for our imports, so unless we get loans, or investment from abroad, we’ll have real, real problems,” the Pakistani PM stressed.



A handout image provided by the Center for International Communication (CIC), Ministry of Media, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on September, 20, 2018 shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Jeddah on September 19, 2018.

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