Prime Minister Imran Khan Performs Umrah Before Meeting the Saudi King
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan performed an Umrah on Tuesday, a day after his arrival in Saudi Arabia. Although this was his first official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after becoming Prime Minister, the PM chose to pray for Pakistan’s prosperity.
PM Imran Khan got the opportunity to pray at Islam’s holiest shrine. The doors to the Ka’bah – Makka’s Grand Mosque was opened especially for Imran Khan to pray in. Imran Khan offered the Nafal prayers at that sacred place and wished for prosperity to come towards Pakistan.
PM Imran, who was accompanied by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry, the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, and information, also respectively paid a visit to Roza-e-Rasool (Peace Be upon Him) — the final resting place of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Madina and offered Maghreb prayers there.
Abdul Razak Dawood, the advisor to prime minister on commerce, textile, industry, and production, was also a part of the delegation that followed the PM to the Saudi Kingdom. Many have speculated that Imran Khan commenced this trip to seek economic assistance from the oil-rich country.
The prime minister is currently on a visit Saudi Arabia after King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s sent him an invitation and is expected to meet both the leader as well as Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, according to a statement released by Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
“A state banquet will be hosted by King Salman at the Royal Court,” the Saudi information ministry’s Centre for International Communications said in a statement.
“Imran Khan will also meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi-Pakistani talks will touch on key bilateral, regional, and international matters, and accompanying ministers at the occasion are slated to meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation.”
After meeting the Crown Prince, known colloquially as MbS, the prime minister of Pakistan is expected to further meet the representatives of the Pakistani diaspora in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, upon his arrival at the King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jeddah, Imran Khan was received by Makka’s Deputy Governor Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud as well as Hasham bin Siddique, the Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, during his premiere meeting with Makka’s top official, the PM exchanged ideas on matters of mutual interest between the Kingdom of Saudi and Pakistan.
The PM is also expected to be called by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Secretary-General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, during his visit. After that and the tour of the Kingdom, Khan is set to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Reaching for An Ally During Crisis:
After a month of Khan assuming the PM office, he began his two-day trip, and it looks like Pakistan maybe possibly seeking billions of dollars in assistance from allies to prevent a balance-of-payments crisis.
Although it may not seem like it, however, the new prime minister is up against various challenges which include, a faltering economy, water shortages, extremism, poverty, and a rapidly growing population. Moreover, now that the water shortage problems are under-process coming to a solution, the next most pressing matter is a looming balance-of-payments crisis, with analysts predicting Pakistan will have to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a fresh bailout.
However, Islamabad’s top officials have refused to choose that route of solution.
The IMF has already lent financial aid to Pakistan repeatedly since the late 1980s, with the loan being borrowed in the year 2013 when a $6.6-billion loan was extended to deal with tackle a similar crisis.
Apart from the Kingdom, speculations are being made to think that Khan is planning to ask for loans from China as well to tackle the economic crisis and prevent it from relying back on the IMF.
Pakistan’s top VIP aircraft:
Chaudhry had earlier commented the PM using a VIP airplane for his foreign trips. He stated that neither would Khan and the ministers go on any trips abroad nor will the premier use VIP aircraft for foreign visits till three months after forming the government.
However, the interesting fact is that Khan previously traveled to Karachi in a VIP airplane.