ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday he had an “excellent” meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, adding that the Saudi royal’s upcoming visit to Pakistan was being eagerly awaited by the country’s public.
Sharif is in Riyadh for the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference where he spoke on Tuesday, inviting Saudi finance moguls to invest in green energy in Pakistan.
“Just had excellent meeting with HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman,” the Pakistani PM said on Twitter. “We agreed to upgrade & enhance bilateral ties & fraternal bonds ... to new heights in line with the requirements of changing world. I told HRH people of Pakistan are eagerly looking forward to his visit.”
In his address with attendees at the sixth edition of the FII summit, Sharif called the conference a “remarkable” forum launched by his Saudi “friends.”
“I would like to propose to my brothers and sisters sitting here from Saudi Arabia and other countries that here is an opportunity as we want to have green energy to avoid pollution and minimize our problems in the air,” Sharif said, saying clean energy was the “driver” of the new economy.
“For the investment in solar and wind energy projects in Pakistan, I am standing before you, inviting you to please come forward and invest in these fields.”
He urged the attendees to establish a satellite center in Pakistan to explore the rapidly growing South Asian market.
“I propose therefore that the Future Investment Initiative should consider establishing a satellite center at one of Pakistan’s leading universities to explore the rapidly growing Pakistani market and spur innovation among our young population,” the Pakistan premier said.
The satellite center could foster a network of researchers, innovators, investors and service providers to take Pakistan to the next level of social and economic development, Sharif said.
Pakistan had started an initiative of installing solar power plants with a combined capacity of 10,000 megawatts to shift its energy needs away from oil and gas, the PM said.
“Pakistan, which is a developing country, cannot afford to finance the import bill to the extent of $24 billion. Therefore, we have launched a program to generate energy through solar power and we are upgrading our rail, ports, airways, power, and digital infrastructure,” he said.
“Pakistan is open for investment and let me assure you as the chief executive officer of Pakistan today that we as a nation are ready to reach out to all of you and the entire globe and find potential investors and grab the future with both hands.”