Saudi Arabia to be third member of CPEC: Fawad Chaudhry

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry on Thursday said that Saudi Arabia will be the third member of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as Pakistan has invited it to become a third partner in the project.
The minister stated this while chairing a press conference in the federal capital following Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s return to the country after a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“A high-level coordination committee has been constituted [to look into matters of trade and commerce] and it has the complete backing of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and PM Khan,” Fawad said while adding that the two countries finalised the important economic partnership during the PM’s visit.
He further informed that high-level delegations from Saudi Arabia and UAE will visit Pakistan next month to discuss trade and security.
Speaking about Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s bail on Wednesday and speculations that he had been let out on the request of the Saudi government, Fawad said that there was no truth to such rumours.
“Nawaz Sharif is not so important that the Saudi government put in a word for his freedom. In fact, let me assure you that no country has requested to grant Nawaz relaxation. There has been no deal and there will be no deal, not at any point,” he stated.
Furthermore, the minister said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is a free institution. “We do not control it (NAB),” he said.
“This is just bail, the case has not been put to rest, however, whatever loophole he used to get bail will be corrected,” he said while adding “the important thing is that the country’s stolen money comes back, not that Nawaz stays in prison. He will be sent back to the same place where he was a few days ago. Our responsibility is to bring back the stolen money. Rest assured Nawaz will be a regular visitor at Adiala jail”.
In response to a question, Fawad said that it was important to put the Sharif’s in the Exit Control List (ECL) list. “We will not let them flee this country,” he said.
Speaking about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi being contacted by PM Imran seeking a resumption of dialogue between the two countries, Fawad said that he was glad that the neighbouring country’s response has been positive.
Earlier, the premier in his letter had called for a meeting between Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York scheduled later in September.
A spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) accepted the offer soon after. “India has accepted the Pakistani prime minister’s suggestion,” the spokesperson said. “The meeting will take place on Pakistan’s request.”