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Tuesday November 30, 2021

Pakistan to get Rs75.5 bn from Saudi Development Fund

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has committed to provide $500 million (Rs 75.50 billion) to Pakistan from the Saudi Development Fund for development of infrastructure, water resources and hydropower projects in Pakistan.

May 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: In a surprise development and as a success of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has committed to provide $500 million (Rs 75.50 billion) to Pakistan from the Saudi Development Fund for development of infrastructure, water resources and hydropower projects in Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced this in Jeddah on Saturday.

Qureshi said the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman while accepting Khan’s invitation was expected to visit Pakistan after the Eid.

He said a Saudi delegation will visit Pakistan after Eid to discuss the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and his foreign minister to Pakistan.

Both sides also announced the establishment of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, which includes areas of political/security, economic and cultural/social.

The Crown Prince last visited Pakistan in February 2019.

The Foreign Office said Imran’s visit to Saudi Arabia had proved highly productive for Pakistan, as a number of agreements were signed between the two countries.

Later, in a video message Qureshi said, “The prime minister’s visit is proving highly productive and there is good news for Pakistan and the Pakistani people”.

However, he did not give details of what the good news for the people of Pakistan.

Qureshi had mentioned earlier that Pakistan would benefit since out of 10 million workers that Saudi Arabia needed in the next 10 years, many would come from Pakistan.

“In Mohammad Bin Salman’s view, to achieve the goals set under the vision they would need massive manpower. They have estimated that they would need at least 10 million workers in the next 10 years.

“Saudi Arabia has decided to allocate a large chunk of this for Pakistani people. New job opportunities would be created for Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia,” said Qureshi.

Qureshi held a meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

The Foreign Office in a statement said that the two foreign ministers reaffirmed their mutual desire to further strengthen cordial relations between the two countries.

They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, discussing ways to enhance cooperation in diverse areas including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, tourism and manpower.

The two sides also discussed ways to provide fresh impetus to existing Pakistan – Saudi Arabia ties.

“In this regard, they welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Establishing Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council during the ongoing visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” said the Foreign Office.

The work of the Council, co-chaired by the prime minister and the crown prince, will be organized into three pillars – political/security, economic and cultural/social.

The foreign ministers on both sides will lead the work of the politic/security pillar, while their respective foreign ministries will act as the focal point for the Council.

Qureshi lauded the positive contribution of Pakistani Diaspora in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards the development and progress of both countries.

He emphasized the need for nurturing and strengthening people-to-people linkages, as well as facilitating travel between the two countries.

Views were exchanged on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Qureshi briefed Prince Faisal on the human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, stressed the need for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and stressed the importance for India to create enabling environment for dialogue and diplomacy.

He also outlined Pakistan’s consistent efforts to support the ongoing peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Qureshi said that Pakistan was focused on geo-economics, connectivity and efforts for peace within and beyond for the betterment and progress of Pakistan, its people, as well as the people of other countries in the region.

Prince Faisal appreciated Pakistan’s approach and highlighted Kingdom’s efforts for peace in the region. Foreign Minister Qureshi lauded the positive role being played by the Kingdom for promoting peace, security and development in the region.

Sharing details about the talks, Qureshi said PM Imran and Crown Prince signed an agreement under which a high-level coordination consultation council will be established which will provide an institutionalised and structured platform for the bilateral relationship.

“We have decided to move forward in all fields, especially energy collaboration, economic relations, investments and job opportunities,” the foreign minister added.

Earlier, upon arrival at the Jeddah airport, Prime Minister Imran Khan was received warmly by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan reached Madina to pay homage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

He landed barefooted along with his spouse Bushra Imran in the city of Madina.

The prime minister was received by the Governor of Madina Amir Faisal bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Senator Faisal Javed Khan and Provincial Minister Aleem Khan also accompanied the prime minister.

Special Assistant for Political Communications Dr Shahbaz Gill and Special Representative of the Prime Minister for Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, a joint statement on the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said both sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom's 2030 vision and Pakistan’s development priorities emanating from a shift from geo-politics to geo-economics.

They stressed the need for concerted efforts by the Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and strive to achieve international peace and security.

They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.

On the kind invitation, extended by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Imran Khan paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 7-9 May 2021, corresponding to 25-27 Ramadan 1442/AH. His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The two leaders reaffirmed the historical and fraternal ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, reviewed all facets of bilateral cooperation and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen relations of the two brotherly countries in all fields, and agreed to intensify contacts and cooperation between government officials and the private sector in the two countries with the aim of promoting bilateral relations to the benefit of both countries.

His Excellency Prime Minister Imran Khan praised the leadership role of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in promoting Islamic unity, and the positive role of the Kingdom in resolving the issues facing the Islamic world, as well as its endeavours for regional and international peace and security.

The prime minister recalled his visits to the Kingdom in 2018 and 2019, as well as the historic visit of His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence to Pakistan in February 2019, during which the two leaders jointly announced the launch of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, to further enhance bilateral cooperation based on mutual trust, benefits and common interests of the two countries.

The Crown Prince assured the prime minister of the kingdom's continued support to his vision to transform Pakistan into a modern developed and welfare state.

The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom's 2030 vision and Pakistan’s development priorities emanating from a shift from geo-politics to geo-economics. The discussions also focused on increasing cooperation in other fields, including energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture. Both sides expressed satisfaction at existing cooperation in bilateral military and security relations, and agreed to further augment collaboration and cooperation to achieve mutually agreed goals.

The two leaders also discussed issues pertaining to the Islamic world. 7. In the constructive spirit of discussions, the two sides reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self-determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions. They also expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, as well as the efforts of the United Nations and its envoys in this regard.

The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution (2216).

They condemned the attacks of terrorist groups and militias, including Houthi militias, by ballistic missiles and drones on the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against vital installations and civilian objects.

They expressed serious concern at the threats posed to the security of oil exports and the stability of energy supplies, which was vital for the progress and development of the region and its peoples. The Prime Minister praised the role of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the resolution of crisis in Yemen which aims at achieving peace and security in Yemen which will result in prosperity and development of the region and its people.

Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the Crown Prince acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process. The two sides, underlining that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward, urged the Afghan parties to realize the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. They agreed to further deepen coordination and cooperation to safeguard mutual interests and uphold the principles of fairness and justice.

The two sides also stressed the importance of the commitment by all States to the United Nations Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India. The two sides emphasized the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The prime minister congratulated the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for successfully organizing and holding the G20 summit meetings and the positive decisions that resulted from it in economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.

Acknowledging the leading role of the Kingdom in addressing international issues, in particular the challenge posed by climate change, the Prime Minister welcomed “the Saudi Green and Middle East Green Initiatives” launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and hoped that the initiatives will have a positive impact on the region, its inhabitants and beyond. The Crown Prince appreciated the Prime Minister’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative, as well as the successful “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” initiative.

The prime minister appreciated the efforts of the Kingdom and its leadership in serving the Two Holy Mosques, their pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors, especially in organizing the Hajj season for the past year 1441 AH, despite the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic.

15. In order to further strengthen and diversify bilateral relations, the following agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed;

i. Agreement on Establishment of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC);

ii. MoU in Combating Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals;

iii. Framework MoU between SFD and Islamic Republic of Pakistan for financing projects in Energy, Hydropower Generation, Infrastructure, Transport & Communication and Water Resource Development;

iiii. Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Combating Crimes; and

v. Agreement on Transfer of Convicted Prisoners.

The prime minister expressed gratitude and offered his best wishes to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and the brotherly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince warmly reciprocated with best wishes for health and wellbeing of the Prime Minister, and prayers for the progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.