Prime Minister Imran Khan has hailed the forthcoming visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Pakistan as a manifestation of the strength of bilateral ties between the two countries.
“The visit of the Crown Prince is a manifestation of the strength of this relationship. First, Crown Prince’s visit will strengthen the diplomatic support of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and will reinforce our relations. Second, I am confident that the economic relations of the two countries will be further expanded by identifying new avenues of investment and as well as Joint Ventures between the two countries. Third, it would further our mutual trust and strong historical relations,” the premier said in an interview to Saudi Gazette.
“[The] visit will go a long way in laying a foundation of strategic and economic relations that has been the hallmark of our two brotherly countries. The generous deposit of $3 billion and supply of oil on deferred payment is reflective of the desire of the Kingdom to see a strong, vibrant and prosperous Pakistan,” Khan said, adding that all aspects of bilateral, regional and global issues, ranging from bilateral cooperation in the economic, diplomatic, political arenas to collaboration in regional peace and stability, will be discussed during the visit.
Prime Minister Imran expressed hope that the two nations can unite to mobilise the international community for amicable resolution of festering disputes such as Kashmir and Palestine.
He also said the two countries can join hands to facilitate peace process in Afghanistan.
Asked about the future of Saudi Arabia being part of the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, the Pakistani premier said the move would bolster CPEC as an engine of growth for the region.
“Saudi Arabia as one of the leading producers of oil, has tremendous experience in the energy market, which could benefit Pakistan in our quest for developing much needed resources of energy. The investment in Gwadar alone would be the most important contributor towards making Pakistan self-reliant in this sector.
“Pakistan would like to develop an economic and cultural corridor with Saudi Arabia to further expand the bilateral relations. Our relations with Saudi Arabia are not based on the exigencies of time but are time-tested.
We hope that Saudi Arabia would invest in other sectors as well to bring the economic and trade relations at par with our political relations.”
The premier said Pakistan would be interested in increasing its agricultural exports to not only Saudi Arabia but also to other regional countries, as well as enhancing cooperation in the banking sector, education sector, science and technology, trade and investment, construction sector and culture.
He noted that multiple contracts are expected to be signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during MbS’ visit, with the main highlight being the signing of an MoU for the Gwadar oil refinery – Saudi Arabia’s largest investment in Pakistan’s history.
“The Saudi oil refinery planned in Gwadar would help boost local production and local energy market. The exchange of skills and transfer of technology and best practices would enhance competition and increase the productivity of our local refineries. It would also complement the projects under the CPEC,” Prime Minister Imran said.