Saudi Arabia, Pakistan determine timeline for $21 bln investment projects

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Saudi Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer hold talks with Pakistan official in Islamabad on September 06, 2019. (Photo Courtesy – Saudi Embassy)
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The understanding was reached during the ongoing visit of Saudi Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer which also allowed officials of the two states to interact with each other and review progress on the investment projects that also include a mega oil refinery. (Photo courtesy: Board of Investment, Pakistan)
Updated 09 September 2019
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Saudi Arabia, Pakistan determine timeline for $21 bln investment projects

  • Among other areas, Saudis want to invest in mining and power sectors
  • Work on oil refinery is going as planned, though the project is likely to take more time to materialize

KARACHI: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed on a timeline to make tangible progress on the promised $21 billion investment projects signed in February this year, the country’s de facto commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, told Arab News on Sunday.
The understanding was reached during the ongoing visit of Saudi Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer which also allowed officials of the two states to interact with each other and review progress on the investment projects that also include a mega oil refinery.
“We have discussed things in great detail and covered all areas where they showed interest,” Dawood said. “Their interest was to sell LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] and they also wanted to know more about the power sector. Other than that, they showed keen interest in mining and refinery projects.”
Without divulging further details, he said that a timeline had been fixed by the two sides to make noticeable progress on the Kingdom’s investment commitments to Pakistan.
“The first progress will be on LNG and then on power and mining and after that on refinery,” Dawood informed, adding: “The progress on oil refinery project is an ongoing process that entails feasibility and market studies. The two countries are moving in this direction as planned, though the project may take some time.”
Apart from Dawood, Al-Mudaifer also met the country’s petroleum minister, Omar Ayub Khan, Chairman Board of Investment, Zubair Gilani, and other officials to review progress on the implementation of all investment projects.
The visiting deputy energy minister reiterated Riyadh wanted to make tangible progress before the meeting of the Pak-Saudi Supreme Coordination Council, saying his leadership wanted to speed up work on all projects.
“The Saudi delegation held discussions to expedite projects in energy, petroleum and mining sectors,” a BoI official told Arab News on Thursday.
The Saudi investment consists of Aramco oil refinery project that will be constructed in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and house a petrochemical complex project at Gwadar deep-sea port.
The proposed mega oil refinery and petrochemical complex to be set up by Saudi Arabia will help Pakistan with technology, skill enhancement and human capital development. It will also result in employment generation and development of downstream, allied sectors.
The meeting of the Pak-Saudi Supreme Coordination Council is tentatively scheduled to take place early next year, and the Kingdom wants to use this period to take its projects in Pakistan to next level of implementation.
The high-powered council was proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to his country in October last year to create a high level institutional mechanism to monitor and implement key decisions taken for bilateral cooperation and investment.
The council consists of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Defense Production, Finance, Energy, Petroleum, Water Resources, Information, Culture, Interior, Commerce, Trade and Investment and Human Resources from both countries.


PM Khan ‘will try to raise conscience of the world,’ at UN — spokesperson

Updated 6 min 56 sec ago
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PM Khan ‘will try to raise conscience of the world,’ at UN — spokesperson

  • There will be a planned protest outside UN offices after PM Khan speech at UNGA, says spokesman
  • President of Azad Kashmir, political leaders expect Khan will stress human rights violations in Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson, Dr. Muhammad Faisal, told Arab News that Prime Minister Imran Khan would make efforts to ‘raise the conscience’ of world leaders against a continuing curfew in Indian-administered Kashmir, at his speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session on September 27 in New York.
On Aug. 5, India flooded the Kashmir valley with troops, imposed a communications lockdown and abrogated a historic clause in its constitution that gave partial autonomy to the Muslim-majority region. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which both own in part but claim in full. 
In response to India’s abrogation, Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties, suspended bilateral trade and made appeals to the UN and international community to condemn the move as a violation of international law.
“We are not expecting that India will lift the clampdown after this speech, but we will try to raise the conscience of world leaders” the spokesperson said and added that the UNGA was not a decision-making forum, but that there would be a large protest outside UN offices.
“On the sidelines, the PM will also meet contact group on Jammu and Kashmir on September 25,” he said.
Referring to “multiple reports” by human rights organizations, Dr. Faisal said the Prime Minister would demand that major global players take note of human rights abuses in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“PM Khan...will demand from international community to take notice of grave human rights violations there which are mentioned in multiple reports by different human rights organizations including UNHRC,” Dr. Faisal told Arab News.
In a letter to the UN Security Council dated Aug. 13, Pakistan had asked for an urgent meeting on Jammu and Kashmir, and it had taken the matter up during its meeting on Aug. 16.
President of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, told Arab News that even though the Prime Minister had raised the Kashmir issue at the UN before, the “aggressive” actions of India had made even graver human rights violations to address, as well as the potential of a bigger conflict erupting in the region.
“When Pakistani PM will speak, he will challenge the international community to act and avert this war started by India, which could turn into a bigger conflict that can be disastrous for the whole region,” Khan said.
A senior leader of the opposition and a parliamentarian from PML-N, Ahsan Iqbal, told Arab News that India’s abrogation and curfew in Kashmir was a “human rights catastrophe,” which should be powerfully highlighted by Imran Khan during his UNGA address.
“He should also ask world community to play active role to compel India to lift the curfew immediately,” he said. 
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of Muslim Kashmir.
A former foreign secretary who has also served as Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Salman Bashir, said that many world leaders and multilateral forums had raised serious concerns about the worsening human rights situation in Kashmir, which Prime Minister Khan could use to his advantage to put pressure on the Indian government.
“He should also highlight Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in the region, especially Afghanistan,” Bashir told Arab News.
India upholds that the abrogation of the constitutional clause that rescinded the autonomy of Kashmir is New Delhi’s internal matter.