Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Pakistan for Official Visit

Monday, 18 Feb, 2019

To Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is not only the world's second-largest Muslim country and an important trade and military ally, but a country with which we share much history and many values.

After Pakistan, the Crown prince will travel to India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman also had a meeting with Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman was greeted with a booming 21-gun salute in Pakistan on Sunday, as the powerful royal scion kicked off an Asia tour months after being tarnished by his alleged links to the murder of a journalist. He is scheduled to be in India by Tuesday and will visit China on Thursday and Friday.

Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, "On the Prime Minister of Pakistan's request, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman has ordered the immediate release of 2107 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails".

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address said that the crown prince had been given a rousing reception on his arrival which is testament to his popularity. The Crown Prince and Khan introduced members of their respective delegations, following which the crown prince planted a sapling. The crown prince has denied any connection to the killing.

The Crown Prince is now on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, the first leg of his Asian tour, starting Sunday.

The Crown Prince said: "We are going to work with Pakistan in all areas, economically, politically, and security to make sure that we create an fantastic future for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan".

Cash-strapped and in need of friends, Pakistan is welcoming the crown prince with open arms for a visit during which he is expected to sign investment agreements for a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the coastal city of Gwadar, where China is building a port.

He referred to his conversation with the Saudi crown prince as he drove him from the Nur Khan Airbase to the PM House and said Prince Muhammad has a passion for tourism.

"This visit, God willing, will start a new chapter in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's relations", Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told state-run PTV channel.

But the United Nations human rights investigator leading the global inquiry into the murder of the Saudi journalist said earlier this month that evidence showed he was a victim of "a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia".

The Saudi royal said his country would collaborate with Pakistan economically, politically and in terms of security.

Sky Sports News reported in October that United were not for sale following talk of interest from the Saudi ruler.

Under this council, a steering committee and joint working groups have been set up at ministerial and senior official levels, to develop frameworks of cooperation in specific projects and submit recommendations to the respective ministers.

Riyadh has never, and will never, turn its back on Islamabad.