Pakistan invites Saudi Arabia for joint ventures in PIA, airports

The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has invited Saudi Arabia for joint business ventures in the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and airports as Pakistan aims at bolstering foreign investment to stablise shaky economy.   

The offer was extended to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during the SIFC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir also attended the meeting. 

During the meeting, the SIFC officials apprised the delegation of investment projects in Pakistan. Sources said Saudi Arabia was also offered to engage in joint venture for two five-star hotels in Islamabad. 

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) would provide land while the investment for building hotels would be made by Saudi Arabia.

It was also invited for investment in Matiari transmission line and First Women Bank Limited. 

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar said the Saudi investment in Pakistan would not only strengthen the deeply valued partnership but also make a sterling contribution to regional peace and stability. 

The foreign minister, addressing the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) forum, said the government’s goal was to transform Pakistan into a hub of economic activity and innovation creating an attractive environment for global investors, particularly those from Saudi Arabia.

The foreign minister assured the delegation that the Saudi investment in Pakistan was not just the placement of capital rather it would prove to be instrumental for mutual progress and prosperity.

The foreign minister reaffirmed that the Saudi investment in Pakistan would be handled with utmost respect and through institutionalised mechanisms. He told the gathering that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia shared deep-rooted ties anchored in rich Islamic heritage and mutual strategic interests and the Saudi delegation’s visit underscored a deep and abiding connection between the two countries.

He said a longstanding and time-tested friendship with Saudi Arabia was a significant element of Pakistan’s foreign policy with an aim to transform the traditionally fraternal ties into a strategic economic partnership. He told the delegation that the SIFC platform intended to streamline processes and ensure rapid decision-making and efficient handling of investments.

"The Council has a central role in augmenting infrastructure, streamlining regulatory framework and ensuring the swift processes to attract foreign direct investment to Pakistan."

Foreign Minister Dar said Pakistan was endowed with fertile agricultural land, a dynamic population, mineral wealth, a vibrant IT sector and abundant prospects for renewable energy like solar, hydro and wind. He said Pakistan’s fertile land presented numerous opportunities in agriculture technology and food processing.

A vast network of water resources creates the prospects for Pakistan to become the region’s food basket. 

Furthermore, he said, the country’s mining sector was marked by untapped potential, especially in the Tethyan Belt known for copper, gold and valuable minerals. He said through collaborative efforts, the bond between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was set to strengthen and emphasised that both sides should seize the abundant opportunity ahead.

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