Saudi Arabia to set up oil refinery in Pakistan: PM

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Confirms Crown Prince to visit Pakistan soon; Police play significant role in eradicating terrorism; What was the need to ruin ties with US

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud would soon be visiting Pakistan, adding that he has expressed willingness to support development projects in the country.

The premier’s remarks came days after he concluded a three-day trip to the kingdom during which the two leaders resolved to upgrade bilateral ties and fraternal bonds.

Speaking at the passing out parade of the Specialised Training Programme batch of the National Police Academy in Islamabad Friday, the premier talked about his meeting with the Saudi prime minister earlier this week.

“Earlier this year, a team from the Saudi Development Fund visited Pakistan. During a meeting with me, they complained about delays in projects in Pakistan caused by the previous government,” he recalled.

“Trust me, it was very embarrassing. But I asked for some time and got approvals for all the delayed projects within 48 hours,” Shehbaz said.

The prime minister said that during his meeting with Prince Salman, he apologised for these delays. “He (Prince Salman) said that the people of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were closely bound together in a relationship. ‘We are like one family and I am ready to do everything’ […] these were his words.

“The Saudi prince also told us to work on projects and to facilitate them without any worries,” PM Shehbaz said, elaborating that the projects included an oil refinery which was worth $10 billion.

Hence, he added, when Prince Salman visits Pakistan, “I want all of you to welcome him warmly because he comes from a brotherly country”.

The prime minister said that in the last few years, Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries had suffered and promised that he was making all-out efforts to mend ties.

“I am visiting China soon and I will request them too. China has been an all-weather friend to us and always stood with Pakistan.” PM Shehbaz also briefly said that there was no reason to “ruin ties with the USA”. However, in the same breath, he promised that the government was trying to mend that relationship as well. “I believe that we should learn from our past mistakes. I swear by God, Pakistan has been blessed, and had we taken advantage of all these blessings, Pakistan would have been the most going country in the world.”

“We have everything in the country. If there is something missing, it is the will to do,” he added. At the outset of his address, the prime minister appreciated the sacrifices rendered by the police in protecting the country from terrorism and crime. He appreciated lady police officers for their commitment and determination to complete this training. He emphasised the need to protect citizens from negative elements and urged the police force to make the counter-terrorism department of Islamabad an example for other provinces.

Talking about flood victims, PM Shehbaz said that he was actively working on providing them with relief, and hundreds of billions of rupees were being arranged to fund flood rehabilitation through international avenues.

Alluding to relations with both Saudi Arabia and China, the premier said both countries have always stood by Pakistan in difficult times.

He also commented on the country’s ties with the United States, saying that “we are trying to improve our relations with the US”.

In his address at the parade, PM Shehbaz assured that necessary funds will be provided to equip police with the latest gadgets and training techniques, asking the interior secretary to prepare projects in this regard.

He stressed that there should be a forensic lab in the capital city and that the counter-terrorism department should be a role model for the whole country.

He said that police personnel render their blood to protect the people from terrorists and criminals, and their sacrifices will not go in vain. He said that during his tenure as Punjab chief minister, the CTD was established in the province and has now become a role model internationally.

The prime minister stated that “despite being blessed with all resources, Pakistan lags behind in development”, adding that we must learn from past mistakes to secure the future of the coming generations.

The Prime Minister directed the Commandant of National Police Academy to ensure availability of all facilities required for the police academy. He said the academy should become a role model for the provinces.

The Prime Minister said although the government has financial constraints yet it will provide funds to Islamabad police in this regard.

Shehbaz Sharif announced that adjacent vacant land to the National Police Academy will be transferred in the name of academy by this evening. He also announced to bring the salaries of faculty and staff of the academy at par with other police training institutions.

Speaking on the occasion, Commandant National Police Academy Allah Dino Khowaja said 14 officers, including seven women, graduated Friday.

He explained that the training of young officers has been designed to be academically challenging and physically rigorous to prepare them in accordance with modern-day requirements.

Earlier, PM Shehbaz distributed shields and medals among the officers who secured distinction during the course and congratulated all the graduates. Assistant Superintendent Police Anam Sher won the sword of honour. Meanwhile, in a tweet, Shehbaz Sharif expressed his gratitude to the United States for additional $30 million flood relief assistance for the flood-affected people of Pakistan.

“Grateful to US govt for the announcement of an additional $30 million in humanitarian assistance for flood victims,” he said.

 

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