President Alvi lauds Saudi economic engagement in Pakistan

President Arif Alvi meeting Saudi Shoura Council chairman Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh on Dec 6, 2019 in Islamabad. (Photo Courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Pakistan)
Updated 07 December 2019

President Alvi lauds Saudi economic engagement in Pakistan

  • Shoura Council chief promises greater parliamentary cooperation
  • President Alvi appreciated Saudi investment in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Shoura Council chairman Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh met with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Friday to discuss bilateral ties.
President Alvi lauded economic and investment cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, including negotiations over Saudi investment in the oil refinery and mineral resources sectors, his office said in a statement.
“He commended the expected flow of $20 billion Saudi investments, following the signing of agreements in the fields of refinery, mining and renewable energy,” the statement reads.
With regard to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan earlier this year, the president said it “had left a deep imprint on the hearts and minds of Pakistani people.”
He also said that Pakistan took pride in its 2.3-million law-abiding diaspora in Saudi Arabia that had contributed to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom.
Al-Sheikh informed the president that “efforts are being made to further enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries,” and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir amid Indian lockdown, the statement said.
The Saudi delegation arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday for a three-day working visit, and has already met with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and Pakistani parliamentarians.

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

Updated 21 January 2020

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

  • Islamabad reaffirms commitment to the Afghan peace process, says FO
  • Wells is in Islamabad since Sunday on a four-day visit

ISLAMABAD: The chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice G. Wells, on Tuesday discussed the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in Islamabad, ahead of an expected US-Taliban peace agreement.

The principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs at the US State Department has been in Pakistan since Sunday on a four-day visit to discuss a host of issues of bilateral interest, including the Afghan peace process.

US-Taliban talks have been ongoing in the Qatari capital, Doha, where they are moving toward a peace deal. 

Pakistan has been involved in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with the US to restore peace in the region.

“The two sides (Pakistan and the US) ... discussed recent developments regarding the Afghan peace and reconciliation process,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement after the hours-long meeting between Wells and Mahmood.

During the meeting, the statement said Pakistan, has “reaffirmed its resolve to continue to support the peace process and pursue positive development of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.”

This is the second time in recent months the US and Taliban have appeared close to announcing a peace deal. 

In September, President Donald Trump abruptly called off the talks in response to a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Monday in a Twitter post that a three-member team representing the Taliban – Mullah Baradar Akhund, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai and Amir Khan Muttaqqi – met with US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Scott Miller, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Experts have termed the recent negotiations between the US and Taliban decisive and are expecting them to reach an agreement by the end of this month.

“Taliban have already agreed on a violence reduction in Afghanistan that was one of the key demands of the US. So, it means both sides are close to a significant peace pact,” Rahimullah Yousafzai, an expert on Afghanistan and Taliban affairs, told Arab News.

He said that Pakistan has played a crucial role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table by using its influence over the militants. “Alice Wells may discuss the pros and cons of the proposed peace agreement with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership during her meetings,” he said.