Pakistan invites Saudi Arabia for joint ventures in country’s airports, state-owned airline

(Photo by Press Information Department)

(Photo by Press Information Department)

By Nasir Aijaz
The AsiaN Representative

ISLAMABAD: The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has invited Saudi Arabia for joint business ventures in the privatization of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and airports as Pakistan aims at bolstering foreign investment to stabilize its shaky economy.

The offer was extended to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during the SIFC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the SIFC officials apprised the delegation of investment projects in Pakistan.

Media reports and official statements said Saudi Arabia was also offered to engage in a joint venture for two five-star hotels in Islamabad. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) would provide land while the investment for building hotels would be made by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia was also invited for investment in Matiari transmission line in Sindh province and First Women Bank Limited, reports added.

Reports also quoted Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar inviting the Saudi investment in the country’s mining sector, which according to him was untapped potential, especially the copper, gold and other valuable minerals. He said through collaborative efforts, the bond between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was set to strengthen and emphasized that both sides should seize the abundant opportunity ahead.

Earlier, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif received Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, on Tuesday April 16, 2024, who is leading a high powered delegation on an official visit to Pakistan. The Prime Minister expressed his deep appreciation for the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister said that both sides needed to work closely to expedite the first phase of Saudi investments in Pakistan under the new arrangement. He informed the delegation about the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and its initiatives to promote investment in Pakistan.

He also highlighted the key role of Chief of the Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir and the cooperation of all institutions for the promotion of investment in the country through SIFC. The Saudi Foreign Minister expressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to his delegation and highlighted that Saudi Arabia attached high importance to its strong and close ties with Pakistan.

Photo by Press Information Department-1

Photo by Press Information Department-1

The Foreign Minister also conveyed the Kingdom’s commitment to an enhanced strategic and economic partnership with Pakistan. The escalating situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories was also discussed.

Later, the high-powered Saudi delegation called on President Asif Ali Zardari. During the meeting, Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterated their resolve to build a strong partnership and further promote economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

The Saudi Foreign Minister was accompanied by a high-powered delegation, comprising the Minister of Water and Agriculture, the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Assistant Minister of Investment, the Head of the Saudi Special Committee and senior officials from the Ministry of Energy and Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Welcoming the delegation, the President said that Pakistan and KSA enjoyed a long-standing and decades-old relationship and Pakistan wanted to transform the existing ties into a long-term strategic and economic partnership. He highlighted that the Government and the people of Pakistan had the highest regard for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and would continue to stand with KSA.

The Saudi Foreign Minister said that KSA considered its relations with Pakistan very critical and was committed to building a strong partnership with Pakistan. He highlighted that both countries enjoyed strong bonds and had helped each other for decades. He appreciated the contributions of the Pakistani diaspora in the development of KSA.

The two sides discussed the regional dynamics and recent developments in the Middle East and called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and end to the Israeli atrocities in Gaza. Both sides also exchanged views on issues of bilateral importance and the challenges being faced by the Muslim Ummah.

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