MBS most popular foreign leader in Pakistan: Minister

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) meeting with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan in Jeddah. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 21 June 2020

MBS most popular foreign leader in Pakistan: Minister

  • Fawad Chaudhry: Saudi crown prince has taken bilateral relations to new height
  • The two countries have always enjoyed historic and diverse relations despite recurring changes in Pakistan’s political landscape

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the most popular foreign leader in Pakistan as he has taken bilateral relations to a new height, Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

“Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took charge, he has taken the bilateral relationship to a totally different level,” the minister said. 

During his visit to Pakistan in February 2019, the crown prince told Prime Minister Imran Khan: “Consider me an ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia.”

Chaudhry said the visit “was truly remarkable and memorable. Prime Minister Imran Khan hasn’t visited any other country more than Saudi Arabia, and similarly the crown prince himself visited Pakistan with a large delegation.”

The two countries have always enjoyed historic and diverse relations despite recurring changes in Pakistan’s political landscape.

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Every Pakistani government has enjoyed close ties with the Kingdom, Chaudhry said, adding: “It’s a people-to-people relationship, and Pakistanis have a huge regard for Saudi Arabia.”

He said Saudi Arabia has stood with Pakistan through thick and thin, adding: “In all our challenges, the first country we’ve looked toward is Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom was always there to help us. You can imagine from this the kind of respect both countries have for each other.”

Praising the crown prince’s Vision 2030, Chaudhry said the plan is not only beneficial for the Kingdom but for the entire Muslim world.

“Vision 2030 has two dimensions. One is the domestic policy of Saudi Arabia and another dimension is the Muslim world, as to how we can shun the perception of extremism,” the minister said, adding that the concept of Vision 2030 is based on education, knowledge, innovation, technology and science.




Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry

“It’s about the cultural change that the crown prince wants to bring not only in Saudi Arabia but for the whole Muslim population, which indeed is a way forward,” Chaudhry said.

“Pakistan really respects Vision 2030, and I believe it’s actually a forward-looking agenda for Muslims all over the world,” he added.

“In Pakistan, we’ve been through a tormenting war against extremism, where we’ve suffered greatly. No one can understand better than us the importance of getting rid of extremism. We need a cultural change and adaptation of the modern world, especially in science and technology. These are obviously fundamental elements for progress and that’s demonstrated in Vision 2030.”

During Chaudhry’s visit to Saudi Arabia last year, he met the crown prince and discussed cooperation in science and technology.

Chaudhry said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a huge opportunity for the two countries to partner with each other.

“Pakistan has done wonders in the manufacturing of medical and protective equipment. We’d like Saudi investment and cooperation in this regard to further expand our capacity to manufacture medical equipment,” he added.

Chaudhry expressed hope for an enhancement of bilateral cooperation in science and technology after the pandemic, especially precision agriculture, which uses satellites and drones to manage crops.

“We’re way ahead than most other countries in precision agriculture, so we’d like to share our experience with Saudi Arabia,” he said.


Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

Updated 12 August 2020

Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

  • Lucid Motors announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan

 

LONDON:A Saudi-backed electric vehicle has broken through the 500 mile range barrier from a single charge.
Lucid Motors, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is a major investor, on Wednesday announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan.
The results confirm that the Lucid Air is the longest range electric vehicle to date, the car maker said in a statement.
So-called “range anxiety,” where drivers fear being stranded without power in their cars, is a major factor for electric vehicle manufacturers in convincing people to make the switch from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured,” said Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson. “A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.”
The PIF agreed a $1 billion investment deal with Lucid Motors two years ago to develop the car at a factory in Arizona.
The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online event on Sept. 9, 2020. In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared.
Customer deliveries of the Lucid Air, which will be produced at Lucid’s new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, will begin in early 2021.