News Desk |
A delegation of Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), spearheaded by former Pakistan Army chief and international power figure General (retd) Raheel Sharif, arrived in Pakistan on its maiden visit to the country on Sunday, 10th February.
A designated plane carrying the delegation arrived at Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi. Sources privy to the development told local publications that the two-day-long visit is considered to hold strategic importance under current circumstances, especially as the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit draws close; the Prince is set to arrive in Islamabad on 17th February.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partner, the UAE, have already deposited $3 billion each in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to help resolve a balance of payments crisis and shore up its declining rupee.
In December last year, Gen (retd) Raheel had dismissed the notion that the military coalition was aimed against any particular country, nation, or sect. He had made that statement after the IMCTC faced international scrutiny for having ulterior motives of targeting Iran.
The former Army Chief had said this while briefing the Senate chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani– who was on an official visit to Saudi Arabia– on performance and objectives behind the formation of the military alliance.
The former COAS had told the Senate Chairman that the basic objective of IMCTC was to fight against the global menace of terrorism until its eradication. However, Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals and have supported opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and different political factions in Iraq and Lebanon.
KSA is planning a $10 billion refinery and oil complex in the strategic Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, the final destination for the massive multibillion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is scheduled to visit both India and Pakistan for regional investment and security dialogue. A number of major investment deals are expected to be signed during a visit, officials from both countries have told the press.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Islamabad’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East, have offered Prime Minister Imran Khan approximately $30 billion in investment and loans.
Riyadh investments are expected to provide a lifeline for Pakistan’s collapsing economy which was downgraded in early February by S&P rating agency from a B to a B-. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partner, the UAE, have already deposited $3 billion each in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to help resolve a balance of payments crisis and shore up its declining rupee.