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Pakistan's military chief visits Saudi Arabia amid economic crisis

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s novel military chief has held talks with high Saudi officials, in conjunction with the defense minister, on his first legitimate time out to the Gulf kingdom because the South Asian country faces an unprecedented economic crisis. Frequent Syed Asim Munir, who took a fee in November, has adopted within the footsteps of his predecessors in visiting Saudi Arabia – a finish defense and economic ally – on his maiden distant places time out. He’ll additionally check with the United Arab Emirates all the contrivance by the nearly one-week time out. “The COAS may possibly well be assembly the senior leadership of both brotherly countries to discuss issues of mutual passion, military-to-military cooperation and bilateral family focusing on security-linked issues,” the Inter-Companies Public Relatives (ISPR), the military’s media wing, acknowledged in an observation on Wednesday. Frequent Munir talked about military cooperation with Saudi defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz within the capital Riyadh on Thursday, in step with the Saudi Press Company. “We emphasized the strategic partnership between our brotherly countries, reviewed the bilateral military and family protection, and talked about systems of strengthening our cooperation,” Prince Khalid bin Salman tweeted. ‘Vulnerable monetary area’ The contemporary check with by Frequent Munir came at a time when Pakistan confronted a crippling economic crisis because the country’s international reserves dangle depleted to lower than $6bn – its lowest since April 2014 – which is ready to simply quilt a month of import. Inflation has been skyrocketing while the country is additionally dealing with the aftermath of last year’s catastrophic floods that resulted in an estimated lack of larger than $30bn. Earlier this week, Pakistani finance minister Ishaq Dar in a news convention expressed hope that Saudi Arabia will park its deposits within the central monetary institution to present some relief to the economic system. Islamabad wanted Saudi money to shore international reserves and make sure a security valve from default. Riyadh deposited $3bn in November 2021, below the tenure of outmoded High Minister Imran Khan. Final month, the kingdom prolonged the phrases of the fund. Since taking workplace last April, High Minister Shehbaz Sharif has traveled to so much of Gulf countries to seem economic befriend and investment. In line with legitimate info between April to November last year, Saudi Arabia has given bigger than $900m in befriend and $500m for importing oil. Qatar promised to take a $3bn position all the contrivance by Sharif’s time out to Doha in August. Islamabad-based analyst Mohammed Faisal believes that Frequent Munir’s check with can dangle to silent be considered from the lens of the economic system as it comes at a time of “in particular susceptible monetary area”. “Pakistani leadership is asking towards Saudi royals to shore up the depleting international reserves to avert default. For Islamabad, a key of the time out may possibly perchance be a Saudi announcement of monetary aid,” he told Al Jazeera. Pakistan managed to trust a loan from the Global Monetary Fund (IMF) price $1.17bn in August. Thus the subsequent tranche of the $1.18bn loan has been delayed. Islamabad continues to be negotiating with IMF for the subsequent tranche. In September, the Pakistan finance minister resigned while the government appears to be unwilling to settle for IMF conditions, in conjunction with rising levies on gas. Pakistan has been teetering preparing to default, which, in easy phrases, methodology the country cannot pay support what it owed and the treasury would now not dangle adequate money to meet its debt responsibilities. Experts dangle feared Pakistan is headed to a Sri Lanka-like default area and that it will also additionally be best likely carried out with out by deft dealing with of the economic system. From the Saudi perspective, Faisal acknowledged, the Gulf nation wished to establish the relationship with Pakistan since the country used to be a foremost component of Saudi regional technique. “Saudi Arabia is wakeful that Pakistan, a tall Muslim-majority country endorses Saudi suppose to be the guardian of two of Islam’s holiest websites in Mecca and Medina,” Faisal told Al Jazeera. End ties With the relationship between the two countries going support bigger than 50 years, here’s now not the first time a Pakistani chief, either civilian or military, has picked the kingdom as their first destination after taking a fee. Both the contemporary High Minister Sharif and his predecessor Khan traveled to Saudi Arabia on their maiden visits in 2018 and 2022 respectively. The last two outmoded military chiefs, Frequent Qamar Javed Bajwa – Munir’s predecessor, and Frequent Raheel Sharif, went to Saudi Arabia for his or her first time out. Sharif, after his retirement in November 2016, ensuing from this reality grew to alter into the commander-in-chief of the Saudi-led Islamic Militia Counter Terrorism Coalition, a 41-nation alliance of Muslim countries located in Riyadh. Pakistan’s outmoded envoy to Saudi Arabia Shahid M Amin acknowledged that the relationship between the two countries is historical in nature and, while Pakistan wishes the entire economy to strengthen, it additionally has supplied security aid to Saudi Arabia. “The two countries dangle engaged in diversified sectors akin to economic system, labor, alternate, security and the incontrovertible reality that the contemporary military chief went to Saudi Arabia, it is merely a continuation of a sample.” Amin told Al Jazeera that Pakistani manpower used to be the foremost driver for Saudi construction for bigger than 5 a long time. Pakistan, too, Amin acknowledged, has made commitments to give protection to the kingdom in case of any security concerns. A retired senior military officer, Omar Mahmood Hayat, concurred with Amin’s views and acknowledged that the relationship is time-examined. “One of our oldest and most likely bilateral military exercises has been with Saudi Arabia. Now we dangle a point of fact solid coaching staff deployed in Saudi Arabia for a long time,” he acknowledged. Frequent Munir himself has served time in Saudi Arabia as a piece of the Pakistani military’s finish defense cooperation with the kingdom. Hayat additional added that with Kingdom itself a in point of fact solid member of heaps of international forums, it helps echo Pakistan’s level of see, as neatly. “It makes heaps of sense that this would perchance dangle to silent be the first check with as has repeatedly been,” he acknowledged.

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