The UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) saved Pakistan from default, when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power three years ago, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said late on Sunday while speaking to the South Asian country’s diaspora in Jeddah.
Khan’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia ended on Sunday evening, during which he met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, secretaries-general of Organisation of Islamic (OIC) countries and Muslim World League.
He also performed Umrah and addressed the country’s diaspora in Jeddah to promote the Roshan Digital Account (RAD) initiative on the last day of his KSA visit.
He said the UAE and the KSA helped Pakistan financially and provided oil on deferred payments to help meet the balance of payments.
“When we came into power, the country’s economic condition was very tough. Our foreign reserves were too low. But I really want to thank Saudi Arabia for helping increase our foreign exchange reserves and offering oil on deferred payments. Similarly, the UAE also helped us. If they had not supported us at that critical time, we would have defaulted. And that would have had severe consequences. Because once a country defaults, it takes quite a lot of time to recover,” Khan said while addressing the non-resident Pakistanis in Jeddah.
There are around two million Pakistanis working in the Kingdom.
Khan said Pakistan was among the few countries which navigated during the Covid-19 pandemic without much difficulty.
“While our neighbours’ exports were dwindling, Pakistan’s exports were on the rise and the economy was recovering. The outlook is fairly bright and the construction sector is growing fast and this sector generates the highest number of jobs also,” he said.
“I’m an optimist and see a much bigger role of overseas Pakistanis in the development of the country in the years ahead,” he added.
Dr Reza Baqir, governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, also addressed the diaspora.
He said over 100,000 RAD were in surplus and Pakistan’s foreign reserves rose to over $16 billion.