$5 billion investment


Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s Ramadan visit to Makkah as the first foreign destination to cement investment talks from longtime allies appears to be paying off. After Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had already reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to expedite investments to the tune of $5 billion, a two-day recently-concluded visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan enthused a new life in the economic deliberations.
Leading a high-powered delegation, Prince Faisal underscored the “importance and starategic depth” of the bilateral relations; hinting at an increase in the level of investments being discussed. From the looks of it, the Sharif government has finally landed itself an opportunity to celebrate a “very positive” development. Although there’s a lot that still needs to be talked out, the government should start rigorous work on establishing transparency and political goodwill to ensure the upcoming visit of the Crown Prince culminates in the next phase of the mega-investment.
With the arrival of the Saudi deputy defence minister on the heels of the finance minister, that too, against an extraordinary regional landscape post-Iran-Israel strikes, Riyadh appears to have forgotten its past grievances with our policy contours. Working on the infrastructural framework to facilitate an environment conducive to commercial interests also requires a same-page approach from the ruling elite.
Now was not the time for the likes of Sher Afzal Marwat to fan the flames of yet another no-confidence motion controversy. That the PTI high command has publicly censured him for such ill-thought-of claims and chosen to distance itself from the latest song and dance is a heartening sign about sanity returning to political thought. Of course, we cannot deny that our politicians have always chosen to pin hopes on “foreign dollars” as an escape from the harder path of actually putting in the work to bring about an end to the dark days. Saudis, or anyone, for that matter, would not be willing to dole out more lifelines.
If Pakistan wishes for investors to take a serious interest in what it claims to offer, it would have to painstakingly carry out long-pending structural reforms and address all security threats. Considering how the SIFC has, to date, given numerous pleasant surprises to ease our money troubles, here’s to hoping it manages to pull out the proverbial rabbit.