ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani briefed his Saudi counterpart about his country’s initiative to set up a special body to attract investment from the Middle East and other regions while holding a meeting on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly session on Tuesday.
The formation of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was announced by the office of former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif in June to get investment in various sectors, including energy, information technology, minerals, defense and agriculture.
The council seeks to adopt a “unified approach” to the national economy by bringing the top civilian and military leaders, including the army chief, on board to steer the country out of perennial financial crisis.
Jilani explained the working of SIFC to Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during the conversation while emphasizing the need to fast-track mutually rewarding cooperation in areas like IT, energy, infrastructure and labor.
“Both Foreign Ministers emphasized the vital importance of Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations and agreed to further deepen mutual cooperation in all fields, especially economy, trade, energy and investment,” the foreign office of Pakistan said in a statement released after the meeting.
“The Foreign Minister [Jilani] apprised His Highness about formation of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to facilitate and fast-track potential investments from GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] Member States, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” it added.
The Pakistani FM also thanked Saudi Arabia for its generous and unwavering support, saying it was instrumental in securing a $3 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid a major dollar liquidity crunch.
He also thanked the Saudi foreign minister for hosting over two million strong Pakistani diaspora and reiterated that his country eagerly looked forward to the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed close defense and diplomatic relations.
The two countries agreed to broaden and deepen their bond by setting up the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council to provide a strategic direction to their relationship.