Pakistan’s bright times ahead with investment accords with GCC: FM

Friday, Sep 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD/NEW YORK: Pakistan is expecting several investment agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in diverse areas including agriculture and information technology, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has said.

“The GCC countries have shown a lot of interest in Pakistan’s new initiative of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SFIC) that focuses on leveraging key sectors by attracting investment from friendly countries, he said in an interview with TRT World.

The foreign minister said the GCC countries were interested in Pakistan’s areas including agriculture, information technology, mines and minerals, and energy. Already, Pakistan has received the Expressions of Interest from GCC countries in mining and energy, he added. He mentioned that Pakistan was sitting on the seventh largest reservoir of shale gas. “The future looks very bright as far as the investment climate is concerned. We are expecting the representatives of the GCC countries to visit Pakistan this month with a number of agreements and MoUs to be signed,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, had very close cooperation with the GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain with different layers of economic, political, defence and people-to-people relations. Jilani said Pakistan had taken strong measures to create an environment of good governance and end corruption and smuggling to ensure a conducive environment for investment.

On Afghanistan, he said Pakistan wanted its neighbouring country to attain stability and prosperity but the presence of TTP and ISIS-K were a serious source of concern. He said dialogue was held with the interim government asking them to fulfill their commitments. Commitments that they have made to Pakistan as well as the international community whereby they are committed to not allowing the Afghan soil to be used against other countries. “Unfortunately attacks which take place in Pakistan are emanating from Afghanistan by TTP that remain a major concern for us,” he said.

On the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said Pakistan’s position was very clear, i.e., War is not an option for anything and the issue needs to be settled through peaceful negotiations. He pointed out that the situation that lingered for two years created an economic crisis with fuel and food shortages. On India’s violation of the UN Charter with regards to the Kashmir dispute, he said Pakistan’s position remained the same and that there should be a criteria-based for membership of the UN Security Council. “We can’t afford to have the emergence of another elite member of this UNSC since India has violated most of its resolutions including those on Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Jilani called for holding a free and fair plebiscite as per the UNSC resolutions and in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. “Kashmir, for the last several years, has been turned into a prison and massive human rights violations are taking place. We expect the international community to take notice of it,” he said. On relations with China, he said there was a lot to celebrate the achievements with regard to the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that marked its 10th anniversary this year. He mentioned that the project resulted in the improvement of infrastructure with agriculture and the upgradation of railways as the next stage.

Jalil said Pakistan was going through a democratic process where a caretaker set up of government was in place with its main task to hold general polls after the announcement of the Election Commission.

Linking a strong economy with prosperity, he expressed hope that the steps taken by the government would result in economic and political stability. The reforms introduced in these sectors by Pakistan offer a promising future for the people of the country, he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry met in New York and reviewed the current status of bilateral relations.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Both sides agreed to further enhance bilateral engagement and cooperation between the two friendly countries, the Foreign Office said.