KSA to invest in Pakistan’s energy and mining sectors

In this file photo, Imran Khan meets the Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. (SPA)
Updated 06 January 2019
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KSA to invest in Pakistan’s energy and mining sectors

  • Islamabad delegation to explore trade opportunities during January 12 Riyadh visit
  • Business community appreciates Kingdom’s role in extending financial support

KARACHI: With an eye on further strengthening the bilateral and trade ties between Riyadh and Islamabad, the Kingdom will soon be undertaking renewable energy projects in Pakistan, officials said on Sunday.

A. Q. Khalil, former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), quoted the Saudi Advisor for Energy & Mineral Resources, Ahmad Al Ghamdi, when he discussed the matter with Arab News.

Khalil was part of the KCCI team which met with the Saudi delegation. He added that Saudi company, ACWA Power, would soon be visiting Pakistan to introduce its renewable energy technologies.

“We have also discussed the investment opportunities in Pakistan’s mining sector and in this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding is at final stage which will soon be signed between the countries, signifying the commencement of new relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” Al Ghamdi told the Pakistani businessmen.

He suggested that businessmen from both countries could meet more frequently and participate in trade promotional events in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Al Ghamdi said that the businessmen from Saudi’s private sector were unaware of the opportunities in Pakistan and hesitant to invest in the country due to security concerns. “If we keep saying Pakistan is safe and secure, they will not believe us. However, if someone from Pakistani government comes and guarantees about the safety and security, besides extending full support of the Pakistani government, Saudi investors will certainly get a strong signal for making an investment,” a statement released by the KCCI quotes Al Ghamdi as saying.

Referring to a recent meeting which took place during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia,  Al Ghamdi said that Khan was particularly focused on visa issues – something which had also been raised by other top leaders from Pakistan.

“Saudi Arabia is now going through a transformation as many new things and rules have been introduced which will hopefully be beneficial for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The ease in issuance of visas is also being discussed, particularly the tourism visa so that people could be encouraged to explore tourism in Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that “we would like to get some of the very good Pakistani products in Saudi Arabia and would also like to improve Saudi exports to Pakistan as we want to create a win-win situation for both countries.”

President KCCI, Junaid Esmail Makda said that a KCCI delegation will be leaving for Saudi Arabia on January 12 to explore trade opportunities.

Makda said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share healthy bilateral relations based on cooperation in different economic spheres, particularly trade and investment. “In recent years, both countries have developed plans to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, education, real estate, tourism, information technology, communications, and agriculture.

He also appreciated the Kingdom for providing $3 billion as financial support to Pakistan in order to address the country’s balance of payments crisis, in addition to a one-year deferred payment facility for the import of oil worth $3 billion. He mentioned that during 2017, goods worth $400.8 million were exported to Saudi Arabia while the imports stood at $2.73 billion, indicating a trade balance which was in favor of Saudi Arabia by $2.32 billion.

While highlighting the huge potential to enhance trade and investment ties, Makda told the Saudi delegates that Pakistan's investment policy provides a comprehensive framework and a conducive business environment. It entails reducing the cost of doing business, eases the processes of doing business, and emphasizes the creation of industrial clusters and Special Economic Zones.

Saudi companies can choose between setting up a liaison office, branch office or incorporate a Pakistani company as either it’s a wholly-owned subsidiary or joint venture with a Pakistani/overseas partner, he said. “It is the right time to invest in Pakistan and capitalize on the widespread opportunities available,” he stressed.

While appreciating the investment gestures from Saudi Arabia, Khalil told Arab News that Pakistan has huge resources which needs to be explored and countries from the Islamic bloc, especially Saudi Arabia, should take the initiative in this regard.

Experts say the future of Pakistan lies in the renewable energy sector and that the Kingdom’s interest in alternative energy projects is a step in the right direction. “It is a timely offer from a brotherly country, which is a friend in need for Pakistan,” Sajiz Aziz, an energy expert, told Arab News.

He added: “Pakistan is the signatory of the Kyoto protocol, which requires the countries to phase out all the conventional sources of energy, like furnace oil and coal, and move towards using green energy, including solar power, wind power, biogas and kinetic and all other sources with no omission.”


The timeline of Priyanka Chopra’s dangerous ‘patriotism’

Updated 26 min 1 sec ago
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The timeline of Priyanka Chopra’s dangerous ‘patriotism’

  • In the thick of a war escalation earlier this year, Chopra, a Unicef ambassador tweeted in support of the Indian army.
  • Last weekend, a Pakistani-American influencer called her out on her ‘hypocrisy’ at a conference

ISLAMABAD: Last weekend, one of India’s most famous actors, a global movie star and Unicef goodwill ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, was accused of encouraging nuclear war by a Pakistani-American influencer in Los Angeles. The very public accusation came just days after India had stripped the disputed region of Kashmir of its constitutionally assured legal autonomy, placed the entire state on virtual lockdown, heavily militarised the region and cracked down violently on protesters in reports published by the BBC, The New York Times and others. 
The showdown between Chopra and 28-year-old influencer Ayesha Malik happened in an unlikely place for politics, at LA’s Beautycon 2019, a multi-day conference featuring talks from celebrities to beauty brands and influencers. 
It was there, during a panel Q&A that Malik said Chopra was a “hypocrite” who had encouraged nuclear war between India and Pakistan. 
Malik referenced a Twitter post from February 26 where Chopra had tweeted, “Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces,” which loosely translates to Long Live India and is a slogan most often used in political speeches.
Chopra’s tweet had come as India launched air strikes on Pakistani territory — leading to counter strikes by Pakistan. It was also the first time in history that two nuclear-armed countries carried out airstrikes against each other, with a dogfight fought in the skies over Kashmir and an Indian plane shot down on Pakistan’s side. 

Photo Courtesy: Ayesha Malik's Instagram

The incident received worldwide attention, with Pakistan eventually returning the captured pilot of the downed Indian jet as a gesture of goodwill. In Bollywood however, the voices were far less diplomatic with a host of actors including Chopra tweeting “Jai Hind” in support of the Indian army. 
Now, months away from Chopra’s tweet, tensions are once more inflamed over Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed countries. 
Last Saturday, Malik, whose Instagram account “Spisha” has more than 100,000 followers, happened to be passing by Chopra’s panel at Beautycon and overheard her talking about her humanitarian work. In an unplanned move, she ended up inside the room with a microphone during the Q&A at the end of the panel. 
“So it was kind of hard hearing you talk about humanity, because as your neighbor, a Pakistani, I know you’re a bit of a hypocrite,” Malik said.
“You are a Unicef ambassador for peace, and you’re encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan. There’s no winner in this,” she said and added that millions in Pakistan had supported Chopra’s career in Bollywood. Soon after, her microphone was snatched away by security. This prompted Malik to shout out the rest of her question to the actor.
Chopra’s handling of the question has been widely criticized around the world as demeaning and dismissive. She told Malik to “stop yelling” and “stop embarrassing yourself” just minutes after she had concluded talking about the importance of women upholding and supporting one another. 
“I hear you,” she said. “Whenever you’re done venting... Got it? Done? OK, cool.”
“So, I have many, many friends from Pakistan, and I am from India, and war is not something that I am really fond of, but I am patriotic,” Chopra said. “So, I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me, but I think that all of us have a sort of middle ground that we all have to walk, just like you probably do, as well,” she said.
“Girl, don’t yell,” Chopra said. “We’re all here for love. Don’t yell. Don’t embarrass yourself. But we all walk that middle ground, but thank you for your enthusiasm and your question and your voice.”
Swiftly, Chopra was trending on Twitter globally and particularly in Pakistan, Pakistani actor Armeena Khan wrote an open letter to Unicef urging them to pay attention to Chopra’s language and behavior and strip her of her title. 
Mehwish Hayat, an actor who was recently conferred Pakistan’s prestigious “Pride of Performance” award, spoke of Bollywood’s negative portrayals of Pakistan at an event in Oslo and later penned down an opinion piece for CNN about the entire situation with Chopra and artists’ responsibilities with their powerful platforms.
Hayat broke down Chopra’s behavior from “Jai Hind” to Beautycon, and wrote about how Chopra’s was a dangerous patriotism blind to reality, particularly in the case of Kashmir. She said Bollywood was adding fuel to the fire in global Islamaphobia by consistently displaying both Pakistanis and Muslims as terrorists. 
Chopra has yet to respond to any of the backlash against her, including a petition to have her removed as a Unicef goodwill ambassador which has amassed over 200,000 signatures.