Islamabad, October 22: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a state-visit to Riyadh to attend a top multilateral business conference, said his nation is "desperate for loans" at the moment. Khan exhibited his eagerness to avail financial assistance from Saudi Arabia while sidestepping a question on journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
While a number of European nations have decided to boycott the conference as a mark of dissent against the dissident journalist's murder, Khan said he could not extend a similar gesture as his government is eyeing major Saudi investment to bail them out from the current crisis. Turkey Says it Will 'Reveal All' Over Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder.
Speaking to the Middle East Eye reporter, the Pakistan PM said he is "concerned" over Khashoggi's death, but it would be against the diplomatic interests of Islamabad to skip to conference being hosted by Riyadh.
"The Saudi government will have to come up with an answer… We wait for whatever the Saudi explanation is,” he said, adding that those officials responsible for Khashoggi's death should be murdered.
On the economic condition of Pakistan, Khan claimed that the country is facing the worst debt-crisis in the last decade, which will adversely impact their population of 210 million people within the next two-three months.
The central bank foreign reserves have dipped to $8.1 billion -- a four-year low. According to officials in Islamabad, it would barely be enough to cover sovereign debt payments for the next 70-80 days. Meanwhile, the current account deficit has widened to $18 billion.
The International Monetary Fund, which offered Pakistan a bailout in 2013, has indicated a stern approach for a fresh round of negotiations. The austerity measures which will be proposed by IMF will not allow Khan to implement his vision of an Islamic welfare state.