Ambassador Al-Malki discusses Saudi-Pak relations with Punjab leaders 

Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki discusses Pak-Saudi ties in a meeting with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in Lahore on August 14, 2020. (Photo courtesy DGPR Punjab) 
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Updated 15 August 2020

Ambassador Al-Malki discusses Saudi-Pak relations with Punjab leaders 

  • The Saudi envoy said the kingdom had never abandoned Pakistan and would continue to support it in the future
  • Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar applauded Saudi government’s cooperation in Pakistan’s development, calling it 'commendable'

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki said on Saturday that the kingdom had always stood by the South Asian nation and would never abandon it during its time of need. 

“We have not left Pakistan before and we will never leave it in difficult circumstances in the future as well,” he said during a meeting with Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in Lahore. 

The visit of the Saudi envoy to Pakistan’s most densely populated Punjab province coincided with the South Asian nation’s 74th Independence Day during which he held separate meetings with several high-profile individuals in Lahore. 

Apart from the province’s governor, these people included Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and leaders of various religious parties. 




Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki meets Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in Lahore on August 15, 2020. (Photo courtesy DGPR Punjab)

During these meetings, the participants discussed matters of mutual interests including different ways of promoting bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries. 

Al-Malki congratulated the provincial leadership on the occasion of Pakistan’s independence anniversary and expressed well wishes for the Pakistani nation. 

“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are like two brothers,” a statement released by the governor’s office quoted Al-Malki. “We consider Pakistan our home and will continue to play our role for its development.” 

The Saudi envoy said that Umrah pilgrims would soon be allowed to visit Saudi Arabia with all the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also reminded his interlocutors that the kingdom had successfully managed Hajj this year by prudently limiting the number of pilgrims and implementing stringent precautionary measures. 

Governor Sarwar said the ideal relations between the two countries were a source of pride for 220 million Pakistanis.

“Islamabad gives importance to its ties with Riyadh,” he added. “The cooperation of the Saudi government in the development of Pakistan is commendable.”

A handout issued on Friday after the meeting between the ambassador and Punjab chief minister said that the two discussed Pak-Saudi relations and investment opportunities in Punjab.

Buzdar said his administration wanted to “develop a new Lahore to keep the environment of the city clean,” adding that the Punjab government would provide maximum facilities to investors from Saudi Arabia under its one window operation.

He continued that special economic zones (SEZs) were being established in the province and development work on Bahawalpur’s SEZ would soon begin.

The chief minister informed the economic zones would offer special incentives to foreign investors.

In another meeting, the Saudi ambassador also called on Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

Elahi told the Saudi envoy that the bilateral ties between the two countries had been further strengthened under the country’s new political administration, while Hussain said that they both enjoyed brotherly relations and no power could undo their strong bond.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.