OFTEN our officials use the lexeme of ‘successful’ after every visit of the head of government or state to a foreign country yet the first foreign visit paid by Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia was highly successful in terms of deepening the economic partnership between the two countries. One has already saw its positive outcome with the Kingdom expressing keenness to join the multi billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project as the third strategic partner, which in our view open a new chapter in Pak-KSA relations.
In fact Saudi investment in the mega project will give a major push and add new dimension to the CPEC besides help in speeding up work on different projects. Though the full investment portfolio is expected to be finalised during the visit of high level Saudi delegation next month to Islamabad, yet it has been reported that the Kingdom is going to turn Gwadar into an oil city. The Saudi investment will go a long way in achieving the dream of making Gwadar port fully operational and making it a hub of regional trade activities. As Pakistan is also currently faced with serious economic crisis due to depleting foreign exchange reserves, heavy investment from the KSA will not only help it to overcome its current crisis but also save it from any major foreign borrowing.
Similarly, joining the CPEC is also beneficial for Saudi Arabia as it will relate and connect them primarily with the world’s biggest economy China and achieve the vision 2030 that is aimed at diversifying the economy with mega projects in different fields in order to reduce Kingdom’s dependence on oil. The CPEC will provide the KSA a network of great trade pattern to engage even better in the world trade traffic. It will also be able to help China to have a better crude oil import, as billions of dollars of its economy is highly dependent on trade activities. Given these prospects and the level of trust and confidence that both Pakistan and KSA have on each other, we are sure that the two countries will finalise all the modalities at the earliest that will definitely open up new vistas of cooperation between the two countries in different fields. Already many other countries have expressed their desire to join the CPEC and the joining by KSA will definitely encourage and bolster the confidence of other countries and companies specially from the Gulf to come forward and invest in the corridor project which is now entering another important phase of establishment of special economic zones offering immense business and investment opportunities in different sectors.
Thus, the CPEC is fast becoming a reality and enemies who are at work to sabotage it for their ulterior motives are bound to fail. Next month, the UAE delegation is also visiting Pakistan to discuss details of their cooperation. Emirates is one of the major investment partner of Pakistan and the friendly country could also be invited for investment in the special economic zones of CPEC as given the location of its ports, it will be a win-win situation for both the countries. Strong economic and security cooperation between Gulf countries and Pakistan is of great importance to meet the economic and security challenges collectively.