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

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.”

‘Generous support’ from Saudi Arabia helped Pakistan after nuclear tests, says diplomat

Bahrullah Hazarvi, who served in Saudi Arabia for 23 years in different capacities, shows his book on King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud that was published in 1997. The book is available in libraries and Islamic centers of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in English, Urdu and Arabic languages.
Updated 9 min 37 sec ago

‘Generous support’ from Saudi Arabia helped Pakistan after nuclear tests, says diplomat

  • Pakistan got KSA's backing as it prepared for its first nuclear tests in May 1998, says diplomat
  • Bahrullah Hazarvi worked in Saudi Arabia for more than three decades in a number of diplomatic positions.

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has helped Pakistan in many ways over the years. One notable example of this, according to a Pakistani diplomat and author who was present during the discussions, was the generous support and encouragement the Kingdom offered Islamabad as Pakistan prepared for its first nuclear tests in May 1998.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on the telephone before the nuclear tests and received his full-fledged support,” said Bahrullah Hazarvi, who was the interpreter during the conversation. Pakistan’s first nuclear test, on May 28, 1998, was a direct response to arch rival India’s second round of nuclear tests on May 11 and 13.

“The generous support of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries at the time encouraged Pakistan to give a befitting response to India,” he added.

Hazarvi worked in Saudi Arabia for more than three decades in a number of diplomatic positions and also wrote a book on the life of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was published in 1997 in English, Arabic and Urdu.

His first posting to Saudi Arabia, in June 1977, was as a coordination officer in Pakistan’s consulate general in Jeddah. He continued to work there until he retired 2010, by which time he was director of Hajj. He is currently working on a new book documenting his experience and life in Saudi Arabia.

Hazarvi’s long stay in the Kingdom and grasp of Arabic allowed him to study many aspects of the lives of the Saudi people and their rulers, including King Salman. He was also frequently called upon to serve as an interpreter for Saudi dignitaries and officials during visits to Pakistan. He carried out this role in 1998, for example, when King Salman, who at the time was still a prince, held official meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other dignitaries during a seven-day visit to Pakistan.

Recalling his motivation to write a book about the life of the Kingdom’s founder, Hazarvi said: “King Abdul Aziz’s love for peace and Muslims all over the world inspired me to write the book. It is a kind of tribute to his services for Muslims.”

In the book, he describes the king as a great leader, known for “forthright expression of pure and clear faith,” who always appreciated the “loyalty and sincerity” of his people.

“We only want one system and that is the system bestowed upon us by Allah, and our only endeavor is to establish peace on this land,” King Abdul Aziz told a large gathering of pilgrims in 1925.

The author also praises the king for his decision in 1952 to abolish Hajj fees for pilgrims.

“This was considered a very great achievement and to this day the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not charge any fee from pilgrims,” Hazarvi writes in his book, which features a preface from Pakistan’s former president Farooq Leghari.

The author notes that the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia had grown from 1.5 million in 1980s to 2.1 million in 1990s and wrote: “Pakistanis enjoy all basic rights in Saudi Arabia…and send huge remittances back home every year to support their families and contribute to the prosperity of the country.”

Hazarvi said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan is evidence of his love for the people of Pakistan. “He has emerged as a visionary leader of Saudi Arabia and this visit will further strengthen the bilateral relationship,” he said.