Home Latest News P.M. Sharif, MBS Agree to Expedite $5bn Saudi Investment for Pakistan

P.M. Sharif, MBS Agree to Expedite $5bn Saudi Investment for Pakistan

Discussions between both leaders focus on fortifying trade ties between the two nations

by Staff Report
P.M. Shehbaz Sharif meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

P.M. Shehbaz Sharif meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on April 7, 2024. Photo courtesy PID

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) agreed to expedite the initial phase of a planned $5 billion Saudi investment package for Pakistan during Sharif’s three-day visit to the Gulf kingdom last week, according to the joint statement issued by both countries on Monday.

A day earlier, the two leaders had held a one-on-one meeting after Sharif attended an iftar dinner, along with members of his cabinet, at the special invitation of MBS. The latest pledge is a continuation of MBS’ directive to the Saudi Development Fund (SDF) last year, when he had instructed it to study increasing the deposit amount in the State of Bank of Pakistan to $5 billion to help shore up Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.

According to the joint statement, Sharif and the crown prince had discussed strengthening fraternal ties between their two nations, and exploring avenues for enhanced collaboration across various sectors. “Emphasis was placed on the kingdom’s supportive role in Pakistan’s economy and the mutual desire to strengthen trade and investment ties,” it said. “Both parties affirmed their commitment to expediting the first wave of investment package worth $5 billion, which was discussed previously,” it said, adding the two leaders had also exchanged views on regional and global developments of mutual interest, including the situation in Gaza.

Jointly calling for international efforts to halt Israeli military operations in Gaza and mitigate the humanitarian impact, both leaders underscored a need for the international community to pressure Israel to cease hostilities, adhere to international law and facilitate unhindered humanitarian aid access to Gaza.

“They discussed the need for advancing the peace process in accordance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly as well as the Arab Peace Initiative aimed at finding a just and comprehensive solution for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” read the statement.

Both sides also stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve outstanding issues between the neighboring countries, especially the Kashmir issue, to ensure peace and stability in the region.

During the meeting, per the statement, the prime minister invited the crown prince to officially visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience. The Saudi leader accepted the invitation and congratulated Sharif on assuming the office of the prime minister. In turn, the premier conveyed his gratitude for the “kingdom’s steadfast support and hospitality, and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to bolstering bilateral ties and economic cooperation.”

Apart from the prime minister, Pakistan’s delegation to Saudi Arabia included Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Ataullah Tarar, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb and Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

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