High-level Saudi delegation to Pakistan 

A follow-up visit with results

The high-level Saudi delegation headed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has returned home after a two days’ visit during which it went through hectic activities in furtherance of its objectives and guidelines.

The Saudi delegation visit was a follow-up of Prime Minister Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia a few days earlier where he had an important and productive one-on-one meeting with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Muhammad Bin Salman and reached an understanding regarding some agreements.

The Saudi Crown Prince had accordingly sent the high level delegation to Islamabad within a week of the Prime Minister’s visit obviously with some guidelines. The visit of the Saudi delegation within a week’s time reflected mental unanimity, mutual trust and cooperation between the leadership of both the countries.

The delegation comprised key officials including the Saudi Minister of Water and Agriculture, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Deputy Minister of Investment, the Head of Saudi Special Committee and senior officials from the Ministry of Energy and the Saudi Fund for General Investments. The very composition of the delegation reflected Saudi Arabia’s interest in agriculture, trade, energy, minerals, information technology (IT) and transport, mostly representing the sectors on which the great brotherly Islamic country wanted to make investment in Pakistan.

It may also be mentioned here that besides the Prime Minister, COAS Gen Syed Asim Munir had also visited Saudi Arabia recently. The role which the Army Chief was playing for resolving the country’s economic crisis, financial and other problems in a dedicated and committed manner can only be duly appreciated.

All concerned in the federal capital and down the line departments should brace themselves for the upcoming massive Saudi investment for utilizing it properly, honestly and ensuring every penny of it was utilized efficiently and only then the real purpose of boosting the country’s economy will be possibly achieved. Such rare occasions of foreign investment coming in the country in different sectors only come once in months if not in years. 

The delegation ‘s visit was also a forerunner to the upcoming visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Pakistan. During its stay here and holding meetings the Saudi delegation availed the opportunity to discuss acceleration of the process of a $5 billion investment in Pakistan.

PM Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the dire need for expediting the first phase of Saudi investments in Pakistan.

During their stay, the Saudi Foreign Minister and members of his delegation called on President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, COAS General Asim, and also attended other activities, including a specially convened meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council presided over by the Prime Minister.

On all these meetings and occasions, existing warm brotherly relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were highlighted, need stressed for further boosting and strengthening mutual cooperation and possibilities and avenues were discussed, explored and the visitors were apprised about all possible information about the sectors in which they had indicated their keen interest.

The Saudi Foreign Minister, while winding up his hectic two-day visit, addressed a joint press conference with host Foreign Minister Senator Ishaq Dar On this occasion, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia expressed their resolve to further strengthen their existing economic ties. The Saudi Foreign Minister conveyed the commitment to further enhancing the strategic and economic partnership and vowed to further enhance his country’s investment in different sectors and fostering bilateral relations to new heights.

As regards deliberations of the Special Investment Facilitation Council, the Saudi Foreign Minister said ” I have never witnessed such a large and high profile delegation from Saudi Arabia in Pakistan throughout my 35-year political career”. Prince Faisal vowed all-out support for Pakistan’s economic progress saying that he had held constructive talks with the Pakistani side.

Host Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on his part vowed to provide all possible ways to produce a conducive environment for Saudi investment.

Thus all augurs well and hopefully some Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) will be signed during the visit to Pakistan of Saudi Crown Prince Muuhammad Bin Salman in the near future.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif was reported to have in his opening address at the Federal Cabinet expressed expectations that billions of dollars in investment will be coming after the Saudi delegation visit.

All concerned in the federal capital and down the line departments should brace themselves for the upcoming massive Saudi investment for utilizing it properly, honestly and ensuring every penny of it was utilized efficiently and only then the real purpose of boosting the country’s economy will be possibly achieved. Such rare occasions of foreign investment coming in the country in different sectors only come once in months if not in years. The Saudi delegation’s visit was productive and constructive and it was for Islamabad to fully utilize the massive investment likely to be coming in the coming weeks.

Muhammad Zahid Rifat
Muhammad Zahid Rifat
The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News) , Radio Pakistan, Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]

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