Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi on Sunday and discussed matters of bilateral, regional and mutual interest, amid reports that the UAE is ready to extend financial assistance to Pakistan to minimise the cash-strapped country's dependence on an IMF bailout package.

Khan, who is visiting the UAE for the second time in the last two months, met Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces, at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

He was accompanied by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khan is also expected to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and prime minister of the UAE.

During his last visit to Abu Dhabi on September 19, the two countries had agreed to strengthen their economic, trade and investment relations.

The government had, during a later visit of an Emirati delegation to Islamabad, made a formal request for assistance, the daily said.

The signals from the UAE were positive and the government was hopeful of getting what officials are calling "a good package", the paper said.

The paper said the financial assistance is likely to be comparable with the Saudi bailout of US $6 billion US $3 billion in balance of payments support and a deferred payment facility on oil imports worth US $3 billion.

The UAE is one of the major oil suppliers to Pakistan.

The government has also been in talks with the Chinese government for an assistance package after Khan's visit to Beijing.

Meanwhile, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan facility are concluding next week, with Finance Minister Umar optimistic about reaching a basic agreement with the Fund by November 20.

Finance Minister Umar, however, had denied that there is any link between the IMF conditions and the PM's UAE visit.

Pakistan is facing a US $12 billion financing gap for the current fiscal year.

The Pakistan government is keen to minimise the amount borrowed from the IMF by getting loans from "friendly" countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia as officials in Islamabad believe that the global lender could attach tough conditions.