By Javed Mahmood, Editor Corporate Ambassador
We have suddenly heard an unexpected breakthrough in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that is the participation of Saudi Arabia in this multi-billion dollars mega project. Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan held meetings with Saudi King Muhammad Bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials.
The big news that hit the headlines was the Pakistani PM’s offer to Saudi Arabia to set-up an Oil City in Gwadar at a cost of US$10 billion under the CPEC project. The Pakistani Premier also offered Saudi Arabia to become the third strategic partner of this mega project, no doubt, with the consent of China. How much significant is the entry of Saudi Arabia in CPEC can be imagined from the fact that this development would set aside fears and speculations about China’s debt trap for Pakistan and that the PTI government is going to wind up the CPEC.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is being honoured with Guard of Honour in Saudi Arabia during his maiden foreign visit as PM.
Moreover, the opponents of Pakistan, China were opposing tooth and nail the CPEC project with the aim to create hurdles in the way of this project and to spread rumours and speculations about the transparency and entire project through malicious and well-planned propaganda on social media and electronic media.
Everyone knows that Saudi Arabia is one of the influential country in this region and a very powerful Muslim country. Its participation in the CPEC would not only encourage more countries to join this project, but also cause a blow to the evil forces, strongly opposing this game-changing development project to achieve their nefarious designs and vested interests.
The United States of America and India were openly opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, but now it would be very difficult for both these power countries to create obstacles in the way of CPEC after the participation in Saudi Arabia in this project as a Third Strategic Partner.
Prime Minister of Pakistan and his Ministers who accompanied him in the recent Saudi trip are of the opinion that next month the official delegation of Saudi Arabia would visit Pakistan to discuss in detail the nature of their partnership in the CPEC, proposed Saudi Oil City in Gwadar and other investment projects in Pakistan.
China has pledged more than US$55 billion worth investment in the CPEC projects in Pakistan and with the entry of Saudi Arabia, the quantum of investment would exceed US$65 billion, which will increase further with the entrance of more countries in coming months.
In other words, Prime Minister Imran Khan had done a miraculous diplomacy to make Saudi Arabia a strategic partner with the consent of China. Because of the entry of Saudi Arabia in this project that open a flood-gate of foreign investment in CPEC projects in Pakistan in the years ahead.
A couple of weeks before the Saudi visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Saudi Ambassador in Pakistan, Chinese Ambassador and Chinese Foreign Minister held marathon meetings with Khan and other government officials to negotiate the fate of the CPEC and to make Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as third strategic partner of the mega project.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also visited the United Arab Emirates, a day after visiting Saudi Arabia and also convinced the UAE rulers to make investment in Pakistan either in the CPEC or in other development projects in this country. The official announcement is that the high-level UAE government delegation would be visiting Pakistan next month to discuss the investment avenues.
So in his maiden foreign visit as Prime Minister, Imran Khan had done a wonderful diplomacy and won the hearts of Saudi and UAE rulers for making long-term big investment in Pakistan. The difference between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan is that the NS promoted his family and filthy business during foreign trips, but Khan is doing everything for his country and for his people.
This approach of Imran Khan would make a big difference those who have ruled the Pakistan in the past, but did nothing worth mentioning except promoting their vested interests.
As the Prime Minister is expected to visit more countries in the weeks to come, we anticipate that his efforts would open many avenues of big foreign investment in Pakistan that had been neglected badly in the past one decade because of massive corruption, bad governance and nepotism.
We believe that in less than one month of his Premiership, Imran Khan had done the finest diplomacy for his country that would benefit the people in the days to come.
In another important diplomacy of the PTI government is that it deliberately ignored the US decision of suspending US$300 million aid to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) during the visit of the Foreign Secretary of America. Instead of begging money, the PTI government made it clear that they want to reset and revisit the Pak-US bilateral relationship with the purpose to find out a strategy that goes in the interest of Pakistan. This unexpected diplomacy of Pakistan, led by Imran Khan, has left America with no other choice but to announce yesterday that the USA is going to reconsider the payment of US$300 million CSF amount to Pakistan.
The most difficult challenge for the PTI government at this time is the repayment of about US$9 billion worth foreign loans by Dec 2018 and we anticipate that the government would overcome this major challenge soon through its well-thought out diplomacy, austerity drive and efforts to recover the looted money by signing bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom and other leading countries in the world.
(Writer is Editor, Weekly Corporate Ambassador, a founding-member of Karachi Editors Club and former Resident Editor of daily The Nation, Karachi. For feedback, plz send email to Mr Javed Mahmood at email@example.com or send message at WhatsApp 923343939029)