Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that the two countries, Pakistan and India, had only one issue — the Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and advocated resolving it like “civilised” neighbors.
Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that the two countries, Pakistan and India, had only one issue — the Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and advocated resolving it like “civilised” neighbours.
“It’s all about human rights and the right of the people of Kashmir for self-determination as guaranteed by the United Nations Security Council 72 years ago. “If that right is given to them, we have no other problems. The two countries can live as civilised neighbours […] just imagine the potential.” He said that India would gain access to Central Asia through Pakistan and in turn the latter would gain access to two huge markets. “This is what I want to impress upon the Saudi business community, that circumstances never remain the same. They always change.”
He was addressing the Saudi-Pak Investment Forum, organised in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Investment. He spoke about Pakistan’s growth potential and highlighted the country’s youth and strategic location.
Imran highlighted the need for improving ties with India, but cheekily said that after Pakistan’s emphatic win against the latter in the T20 World Cup it was “not a good time” for such a conversation. “We have two of the biggest markets in the world neighbouring us, through Afghanistan we have [access] to Central Asian markets. “We have excellent relations with China, but if somehow we improve our relationship with India — I know after last night’s thrashing by the Pakistan team in the cricket match, it’s not a very good time to talk about improving relations with India,” he said.
The prime minister said that the most successful business people are those who look ahead and take risks. “The ones who go on the trodden path never really become outstanding in any field, let alone business.” Once again highlighting Pakistan’s strategic location, the prime minister said that Saudi businessmen could benefit from what the country has to offer. He mentioned the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project and the Central Business District project and called for investors to invest in them.He also mentioned another project along the River Indus with 300,000 acres of fertile land. He said that water was available, but a canal was required to water the land. “All we need is energy to lift that water in a canal and this whole area becomes cultivable.” He said that the project had immense opportunities for both the countries.
Concluding his speech, PM Imran said he wanted relations between the two countries to go to another level. “A level that will benefit both the countries. “The advantages that Pakistan has are different to the advantages Saudi Arabia has. Therefore, if we come together, it will mutually benefit both the countries.”
Earlier, the premier said that the relationship between the two countries transcends all others. “Because of the two holy mosques, we are tied to the Kingdom. Second, Saudi Arabia has always stood with Pakistan during the most difficult of times.”
He said that if Saudi Arabia faces a security threat, Pakistan will stand with the Kingdom to protect its security. He also praised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “I have been coming to Saudi Arabia for 30 years and I have seen a change under the dynamic leadership of the crown prince. I have seen the difference. “He is someone who has a passion for change […] and I see that.”
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that separate presentations were made on investment opportunities in Pakistan in the housing and hydropower sectors on the occasion. The event was attended by a large number of Saudi investors and businessmen, key Pakistani business leaders, investors from the Pakistani diaspora, and stakeholders from Pakistan’s private sector based in the Kingdom, the statement said. Leading Saudi firms, including SABIC, ACWA Power, Ma’aden, SALIC, Al-Zamil Group, Al-Bawani Group and Riyad Bank, attended the forum and affirmed their resolve to build deeper engagement with Pakistan, the PMO said.
On the sidelines of the summit, PM Imran met Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and “underscored the need to reinforce national as well as global emphasis against [the] existential threat” of climate change, according to the PMO.
In a series of tweets, the PMO said the prime minister highlighted during the meeting the priority attached to climate change by his government. “The PM shared his perspective with the special envoy on challenges faced by Pakistan and other developing countries due to climate change, while highlighting Pakistan’s experience of launching nature-based solutions to address the environmental challenges, including Plant for Pakistan [campaign],” it added.
It said ongoing collaboration between Pakistan and the US on climate change and environment was reviewed during the meeting. PM Imran “expressed satisfaction on the recently held inaugural meeting of the ‘US-Pakistan Climate and Environment Working Group’, which explored potential areas of bilateral Pak-US cooperation on climate action”, according to the PMO.
“Special Envoy Kerry agreed that Pakistan and the US shared a longstanding relationship, which should be further reinforced in areas of mutual convergence, including climate and environment,” it further stated. “He (Kerry) acknowledged various initiatives undertaken by Pakistan to fight climate change.” The PMO said Kerry emphasised the priority attached by the US administration to the issue of climate change and briefed PM Imran on various measures taken by the Biden administration “for developing a broad global consensus on climate action in the run-up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP26), later this month”. “The PM underscored that Pakistan and the United States should continue sharing ideas, expertise and technology to optimise mutually beneficial opportunities in the fight against climate change.”
According to the PMO, the prime minister also encouraged Kerry to further “explore [the] possibility of enhanced bilateral engagement through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support investment in climate mitigation, resilience, and adaptation in Pakistan and the developing world”. “The special envoy acknowledged the huge potential of cooperation in these areas and expressed the desire to further explore opportunities of bilateral cooperation including in power generation projects from renewable sources,” it said, adding that the two sides agreed to work in close coordination to determine next steps in building an effective framework of cooperation in this regard.
The ongoing situation in Afghanistan also came under discussion during the meeting, the PMO said. It said PM Imran underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the rest of the region. “The prime minister stressed the imperative for the international community to work pragmatically to preserve peace and security, avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and prevent an economic collapse,” the PMO said, adding that the premier also stressed the need for “positive engagement and release of economic resources and financial assets for the welfare of the Afghan people”.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi focused on Pakistan’s shift from geo-politics to geo-economics; Adviser on Finance highlighted economic resurgence of Pakistan; and Minister for Energy outlined the vast opportunities in the energy, agriculture, livestock and other key sectors.
The Saudi Minister for Investment, in his keynote address, underscored the longstanding and abiding ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and reaffirmed the resolve to further deepen bilateral trade, investment and business links.