The Proton Saga has been caught testing in Pakistan ahead of its introduction in the South Asian country. The above image from CarSpiritPK points to at least two variants of the compact sedan earmarked for the market, with one of it being the Premium, judging from the wheels.

Word is that the Saga will introduced by Proton’s local partner Al-Haj Automotive initially as CBU import from Malaysia, before local assembly kicks off in 2021. In April 2019, Proton and Al-Haj signed a licensing and technical assistance agreement related to the building of a factory in Karachi to assemble Proton cars there.

Then, it was announced that the Karachi plant will be built on a greenfield site with an initial investment of US$30 million (RM124 million). Operations are expected to start before the end of 2020.

It was previously reported that the Saga for Pakistan will get a slightly downsized engine to match the country’s auto tax structure. The car will still feature a 1.3 litre engine, but it will have a displacement of 1,299 cc instead of our S4PE 1.3 litre VVT mill’s 1,332 cc displacement,

This could well be a cylinder resleeve job to meet the capacity requirements, or it could be an entirely fresh engine altogether, coming from Geely. The Chinese automaker and 49% shareholder of Proton has a 1,299 cc four-pot called the 4G13 (not a Mitsubishi engine despite the familiar code), available in both turbocharged and normally-aspirated forms. In NA guise, the Geely unit offers 87 hp and 120 Nm, which isn’t far from the S4PE’s 95 PS/120 Nm.

As for transmissions, the latest Saga facelift – launched in August 2019 – saw Proton replace the old CVT with a Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic. A five-speed manual is also available, of course. The X70 is another Proton set for Pakistan – the SUV has already been spotted testing in the fellow right-hand-drive market.

Recently, Proton shipped its first batch of cars to Kenya – 30 units of Sagas in knocked down form for assembly in the African nation. Seems like these days, the Saga is the only Malaysian that gets to travel.

GALLERY: 2020 Proton Saga Anniversary Edition

GALLERY: Proton Saga Anniversary Edition with optional accessories