ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday received a telephone call from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who invited the premier to visit Saudi Arabia. Both leaders discussed bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, the prime minister wrote a letter to Saudi royals, lauding their “Saudi Green Initiative and Green Middle East Initiative”.
According to the Prime Minister Office, the crown prince inquired about the prime minister’s health and wished him speedy recovery. PM Khan also inquired about the wellbeing of the crown prince who had recently undergone a surgical procedure.
The prime minister wrote: “It gives me immense pleasure to extend my best greetings and hope that Your Royal Highness is in good health and safe from the pandemic. I would like to convey deep respects and warm wishes for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz.”
PM lauds kingdom’s green initiatives
Mr Khan added: “I am delighted to learn about Your Royal Highness’s plans for launching ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ as well as rallying the region for the larger ‘Green Middle East Initiative’ aimed at protecting the nature and planet.”
He said the two initiatives which, inter alia, included plantation of 10 billion trees in the kingdom and its further upscaling to 50 billion in the region as part of the Green Middle East Initiative, expansion of protected areas to more than 30 per cent, protection of marine and coastal environments and generation of 50pc of the kingdom’s energy from renewable by 2030, were highly commendable.
Mr Khan said the vision of Saudi leaders closely aligned with the government’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative which was investing in nature-based solutions to address climate change impact in the country.
“After successfully planting one billion trees from 2014 to 2018, our ‘10 billion Tree Tsunami’ initiative is well under way across the whole country. We are also expanding our protected areas — over 15pc land and 10pc marine — by 2023. These initiatives have demonstrated that planting trees not only protects nature and restores ecosystem to fight climate change, but also expands eco-tourism and creates thousands of green jobs for the youth as well as local communities,” he added.
Prime Minister Khan said: “We are also committed to shifting our energy mix towards a clean and low carbon trajectory. Like the kingdom’s vision, we are targeting 60pc of our energy to be clean energy by 2030, which will require a major expansion of solar, wind and hydro power generation capacity in the country.
“Pakistan cherishes its cordial and brotherly relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we would like to extend our support for Your Royal Highness’s excellent ‘Green’ initiatives. While our two countries maintain close cooperation on climate change issues at all multilateral forums, a meaningful and structural bilateral engagement can help advance our shared vision and create mutually beneficial opportunities for partnership. We would also be happy to share experience, knowledge and lessons from our nature-based approaches and initiatives.”
He said the challenge of climate change was one that called for greater international collaboration and a shared aspiration for sustainable development as the world had no choice but to tread this green pathway and define a new development paradigm for the 21st century. “I wholeheartedly appreciate Your Royal Highness’s efforts toward this transition,” he added.
The prime minister also conveyed best wishes for the royal highness’s good health and happiness, and for continued progress and prosperity of the people of Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commissioner to Bangladesh Imran Siddiqui called on the prime minister and briefed him on relations between the two countries. The prime minister directed the high commissioner to continue efforts to promote bilateral relations. He conveyed good wishes for the leadership and people of Bangladesh.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2021