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Saudi Crown Prince’s Anticipated Visit Boosts Hopes For Major Investment In Pakistan

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LAHORE: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is slated to visit Pakistan later this month, a trip that officials in Islamabad anticipate will lead to substantial Saudi investment. This marks his first visit since February 2019, following a previously planned trip in late 2022 that was postponed due to scheduling conflicts with Pakistan’s military leadership changes and political uncertainties surrounding the general elections.

The visit comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent trips to Riyadh, which have been part of a broader strategy to secure financial support for Pakistan’s struggling economy. In advance of the crown prince’s arrival, a high-level Saudi delegation composed of prominent businessmen has been meeting with Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad to discuss potential investments.

These interactions are part of Pakistan’s broader initiative to attract investment from Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE. During a visit before Eid, agreements were made to accelerate Saudi investment, potentially amounting to $5 billion in its initial phase. Following this, a significant Saudi delegation led by the Foreign Minister visited Islamabad to explore further investment possibilities guided by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

The upcoming visit of the Saudi crown prince is viewed by Pakistani officials as a crucial step in converting these preliminary commitments into tangible investments. In efforts to entice further Saudi capital, Pakistan is offering stakes in key economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, and mining.

This surge in diplomatic activity reflects Pakistan’s urgent need to alleviate its balance of payment crisis and stimulate economic growth through enhanced foreign reserves and industrial development, with hopes pinned on increased Gulf investments.

 

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