We can meet Kuwait’s goal to maintain food security: Pakistan envoy

We can meet Kuwait’s goal to maintain food security: Pakistan envoy

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 7: Around 3,300 doctors and nurses are currently working in Kuwait, and a new batch arrives every two or three months, reports Al-Jarida daily quoting Pakistani Ambassador to Kuwait Malik Muhammad Farouq. In an exclusive interview with the daily, Farouq confirmed that the year 2023 ended with high-level interaction between the leaders of the two countries; that is, after a break of six years. He cited the visit of a delegation headed by Pakistani Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar to Kuwait last year. He said the delegation consisted of the Pakistani ministers of Finance, Trade, Law, Justice, Climate Change and Energy; in addition to Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir. “We had very fruitful discussions on both the civilian and military aspects. Pakistan enjoys outstanding and friendly relations with Kuwait; built on common interests, trust and mutual understanding. It was a very successful visit, especially since it took place for the first time after six years and it coincided with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Kuwait,” the Ambassador asserted.

Pakistan Ambassador to Kuwait Malik Muhammad Farooq

He then revealed that the two sides agreed that this interaction should be regular, stressing the talks at the ministerial level were fruitful as emphasis was put on trade and investment. He went on to say that when the delegation visited Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the authority was about the current initiative of the Pakistani government. “Our government launched the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. SIFC has five sectors — agriculture, information technology, energy, mining and food security. We know that food security is particularly important in the Gulf region. It is the primary concern of all governments around the world, including Kuwait. Pakistan wants to play a vital role in Kuwait’s bid to address its food security issue. We can meet its needs for fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. It is known that Kuwait imports 99 percent of its food products from different countries.

Pakistan’s share of the amount that Kuwait imports from Brazil, New Zealand and Australia does not exceed three percent. We know very well the extent of Kuwait’s interest when it comes to the issue of ‘halal’ meat and Pakistan is a pioneer in the field of halal meat. We have developed the international quality of slaughterhouses. Our people do not compromise on the issue of quality standards for fresh meat.

The Kuwaiti people also know that Pakistan does not compromise when it comes to slaughtering properly and professionally. As for rice, we produce one of the best types of basmati rice, but the share of Pakistani rice coming to Kuwait is less than one percent. We can add to that the vegetables and fruits. We have the best types of fruits, nuts including pine nuts, and pink salt. The Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and I had a good and fruitful meeting late last year. He was very optimistic that Pakistani products would soon spread in the Kuwaiti market. I am sure that in the coming days, you will see the results of this in both directions. We will see Pakistani products coming to Kuwait and we will see some Kuwaiti investments in Pakistan,” he pointed out.

On military cooperation, Farouq affirmed that Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir and his accompanying delegation had extensive discussions with their Kuwaiti counterparts; because Pakistan is keen on strengthening military ties with Kuwait. He said: “Our military ships used to come here and this is what we will do in the future. Our naval ships go everywhere every year. We want Kuwait to be part of these visits, as well as the ‘Aman’ exercises in Pakistan. Currently, Kuwait is just an observer in these exercises. We want Kuwait to have a full membership. If we talk about training, the military personnel from Kuwait can come to Pakistan to participate in our training programs. Kuwait recently sent a large Armed Forces group — more than 30 members. I am sure that they learned a lot. Our military personnel do not compromise on experience and skills. The training is rigorous and serious.”

On Kuwaiti investments in Pakistan, Farouq confirmed: “We presented certain projects to Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). We are fully aware that KIA always requests feasibility studies since they have their standards. Given the fears that investors always express, their first concern is to recover their money through dividends. I assure the Kuwaiti investors that everything a company or person invests in Pakistan will be safe, secure, and profitable. Since Pakistan is a large country, it is a huge open market and the policies of the government are favorable to foreign investors.

Pakistan is a very rich agricultural country as well, so we urged our Kuwaiti friends to invest in this sector; as well as in the energy and mining sectors. We have very rare minerals and many mines that need to be explored and invested in.” He also cited tourism as another field open for Kuwaiti investors, stressing that “Pakistan is a beautiful country and it has several tourist attractions. We have good infrastructure due to the Pakistan- China Economic Corridor, but the tourism industry still needs investments, such as the hotel sector and large resorts. We know that Kuwaitis love tourism and Pakistan is relatively close to Kuwait while its prices are very reasonable, especially for shopping enthusiasts. Pakistani textiles are considered one of the best in the world. You find them everywhere, specifically in European countries, but we hardly see them in Kuwait.” About the visa for Pakistani workers, Farouq expressed his gratitude to the concerned Kuwaiti authorities as they listened to his view on the resumption of the issuance of visas for Pakistanis. “I am hoping that we will reach an agreement soon, then we will see more skilled Pakistani workers coming to Kuwait, which needs a lot of manpower, particularly those specialized in information technology, construction and engineering. I had a meeting with the secretary general of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), which offers one of the best investor-friendly policies. One of the areas I am focusing on is Pakistan’s advanced and good information technology expertise, as Kuwait needs that and it is focusing on cybersecurity,” he added.

On health agreements, Farouq confirmed the existence of a health agreement between the two countries. He said Kuwait’s Ministry of Health usually requests for medical staff from Pakistan, indicating that a new batch will arrive within two or three months — after the Ministry of Human Resources Development in Pakistan completes the selection of qualified doctors, nurses and technicians. So far, we have about 3,300 medical and nursing staff in Kuwait. I extend my special thanks to the Ministry of Health here and the minister for their continued support and cooperation. I also thank the leadership of Kuwait and its people for the trust they have shown towards our citizens. I am also grateful to my country’s officials, because they are very careful in choosing the best people to send to Kuwait. I thank those who come to work in Kuwait, as they have brought the best and positive image of my country to Kuwait.

In fact, I have not heard a single negative comment about any of them. This is truly a source of great pride for me. I am honored that everyone is happy with their knowledge and skill. We have extended the health agreement, which ended in May last year, until 2026.” Asked about the vision of Kuwait and his country on international issues, Farouq pointed out: “We talk about international issues most of the time. The two countries meet on all issues and they have similar views, especially on current situation in Gaza. The two countries have always condemned the Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians. We asked the international community to push for ceasefire. Like Kuwait, we are also sending our military planes loaded with relief goods for our Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

The post We can meet Kuwait’s goal to maintain food security: Pakistan envoy first appeared on ARAB TIMES – KUWAIT NEWS.

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