IN a welcome development, Saudi Arabia has decided to grant two-year multiple visas to Pakistani businessmen recommended by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Ambassador of the Kingdom Abdullah Marzouk Al-Zahrani, who has been instrumental in promoting not only government-to-government but also people-to-people contacts between the two countries, told FPCCI President Abdul Rauf Alam that his country wants to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in various fields including trade, commerce and culture.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been enjoying closest of relations and there is no denying the fact that successive Saudi envoys played crucial role in strengthening them further. The incumbent Ambassador stands tall as he has been regularly interacting with people representing different walks of life in Pakistan as part of his aggressive policy to take bilateral relationship to new heights. However, it may be pointed out that economic relationship between the two countries has been dominated by supply of oil by KSA and provision of labour force by Pakistan whereas sky is the limit for increasing mutual collaboration. As pointed out by the envoy, the Kingdom has embarked upon a comprehensive programme for diversification of the economy with growing focus on productivity and investment in different sectors. There is a wide scope for Pakistani entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture, beverages, processed food, oil, gas, petrochemicals, power generation, water and financial services. Similarly, as Saudi investment in the United States fears curbs, there are prospects for attracting huge Saudi investment in Pakistan in industry, services and infrastructure. Businessmen of the two countries could enter into joint ventures in different fields to mutual benefits and this requires facilitation. We hope that apart from visa facilitation, other necessary measures would also be taken by the two governments to accelerate the pace of mutual economic collaboration.