ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is expecting a financial package from the United Arab Emirates as Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Islamabad Friday to meet Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

A foreign ministry statement issued after the meeting said Pakistan and the UAE had agreed to participate in the 12th round of Joint Ministerial Commission of the two countries that would be held in Abu Dhabi early next year.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said: “The two sides also agreed to meet on the sidelines of Sir Bani Yas Forum in Abu Dhabi later this month,” he added.

There was no word on any ‘package’ after the yesterday’s meeting but the two ministers were understood to have discussed Pakistan’s economic crises.

Last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan had requested a Saudi Arabia-like deal from the UAE to stabilise the economy.

He said Islamabad had urged the friendly country to provide a ‘fiscal space’ to Pakistan amid the economic crises. He said Pakistan wanted to counter International Monetary Fund’s tough conditions through support from the friendly countries.

“We may still have to go to the IMF but we have to be in a reasonable position. If we are weak (and need more money) there will be tougher conditions. This will put burden on the general public. We are working to have some base before (we go into talks with) the IMF,” he said.

A high-level UAE delegation comprising senior officials of major companies, including Mobadla Petroleum, ADIA (Sovereign Wealth Funds), Etisalat, DP World, Dubai Investment Authority, Emaar Company, Aldahra Agriculture and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development had met the Foreign Minister in October.

The visit was a follow up of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s official visit to Abu Dhabi on September 19 and his understanding with Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to forge closer economic, trade and investment relations between the two countries in all areas of common interest.

Last month Pakistan took a big step forward to avert the IMF programme as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to provide $3 billion for one year as balance of payment support and a further one-year deferred payment facility for oil payments up to $3 billion. Economists calculated the impact of the support at $12 billion.

The PM is also expected to visit Malaysia to discuss economic issues with Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad.

An IMF team is already visiting Pakistan to negotiate the programme, likely to cover a period of three years. The Institute of International Finance in its latest report said a potential IMF programme for Pakistan could be valued at $15 billion.

The IIF expects an agreement on a three-year IMF programme of $ 15 billion by end of this year. However, Finance Minister Asad Umar now believes $6-7 billion from the IMF could settle the economic crises.

Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had formed the federal government in August pledging to bring a ‘change’ in its election campaign. There had been massive criticism against the government after Imran Khan and Asad Umar announced to borrow money from the international financial institutions to improve the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Japan reaffirmed the commitment to further strengthen their bilateral relations taking the partnership to a new and higher level.

The resolve came at the 11th Round of Pakistan-Japan Bilateral Political Consultations held in Tokyo, said a foreign ministry statement issued yesterday.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani delegation while Kazuyuki Yamazaki, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, led the Japanese side.

The Consultations provided a good opportunity to the two sides to explore new possibilities for further strengthening cooperation, especially in the spheres of trade and economy, investment, people-to-people interactions, human resource development and education, said the statement.

The two sides discussed the evolving peace and security situation in their respective regions. The Foreign Secretary briefed on Pakistan’s efforts towards promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir were also highlighted, it said.

The Japanese side appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism and acknowledged successes achieved in improving the security situation. “This encourages greater investments in Pakistan,” the statement said.