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International Affairs

Pakistan gave a Historic and Unprecedented Welcome to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman

Islamabad/Arshad Mehmood

Amid heightened security, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arrived in Islamabad. Muhammed is on his first ever visit to Pakistan.

An actual red carpet was prepared at the Noor Khan Airbase in the garrison city of  Rawalpindi, where the Prince landed.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa were present with other Pakistani top officials at Nur Khan Air Base to receive His Highness, the Crown Prince.

He was given a 21-gun salute at the air base and a guard of honor by the Armed Forces in PM House. The prime minister  Imran Khan himself drove crown prince to PM House himself as he did with the UAE crown prince.

Prime Minister personally received and welcomes HE Crown Prince Salman along with his cabinet members. This usher in a significant era of brotherhood and cooperation between the two Islamic states.

Saudi Prince is accompanied by a  high-powered delegation comprising key ministers and some prominent businessmen, besides members of the royal family.

As the Saudi Royal jet entered in Pak-space, Pakistan Air Forces F-16 and JF-17 fighters escorted the Royal plane.

The crown prince, who is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, was accorded a historical welcome ceremony.

As the crown prince has on a number of occasions has expressed his love and affection for the people of Pakistan. So Showing a rare sign of honor dignity and warmth of Pak-Saudi friendship Prime Minister Imran Khan received Royal entourage at the Noor Khan airbase.

Big portraits of Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and President Arif Alvi have been erected on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad.

Banners and posters inscribed with slogans of Pak-Saudi friendship and fraternity have also been put on display along the roads.

During the visit, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will hold talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and President Arif Alvi.

Islamabad is describing the visit as a “ Most historical and significant one” which will help stabilize the crippling economy of the country as over $21 billion MoUs are likely to be signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman will also jointly preside over the Supreme Coordination Committee (SCC) meeting in Islamabad.

The SCC aims at helping the two countries on effective coordination and follow-up to achieve mutually agreed objectives.

Not only the government but the opposition has also hailed the visit of the crown prince as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have welcomed the crown prince in their statements.

A foolproof security plan has been put in place to avoid any incident during the royal visit. Pakistan Armed Forces, Special Commandoes, Rangers, Snipers, and the Royal Saudi  Guards are providing security, a senior Islamabad police official told The Herald Report.

Authorities in the capital told the Herald that two five-star hotels had been ordered to cancel all advance bookings as the rooms will be reserved for the prince’s entourage. Pakistan Army has completely taken over the security of the Islamabad during the two days visit of MBS.

Earlier Pakistani local media reported that the crown prince’s personal belongings – including luxury vehicles and his own gym – were flown to Pakistan in two C130s.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are reportedly preparing to sign a record investment package with Pakistan, including a $10-billion refinery and oil complex for the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

Dr. Salman Haider Shah a former senior economist told the Herald that Pakistan is facing a serious balance of payments crisis, it hopes its old ally Saudi Arabia will throw the struggling economy a lifeline, specifically in the form of a $10-billion investment in a refinery and oil complex in the southwest of the county. The establishment of an oil refinery in Gwadar port would be  High on the agenda as well as the possible acquisition of two major power plants by Saudi companies. The crown prince is also bringing about 40 businessmen with him and these men will now have meetings in other sectors like food processing, IT, the finance sector, construction and hospitality, They will be having business-to-business meetings during the visit and then we will have a follow-up investors conference after this. added Dr. Shah.

On last Thursday, State Bank of Pakistan said that foreign reserves were down to $8.2bn, which covers less than two months of imports. Pakistan has approached Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and China for loans to cover the gap.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been courting its Gulf allies for months as he seeks to stave off an ongoing balance of payments crisis.

Usman Dar, a senior parliamentarian from ruling Tehreek e Insaf  told the Herald Report that Saudi Arabia is also expected to sign contracts that would see it acquire two liquified natural gas-based power plants, both of which the government has been aiming to sell as part of a privatization drive. A further $ 4Bn is expected in deals on developing alternative energy plants, as well as on mineral mining enterprises. In the last two decades Now with Saudi investment coming in for the first time at this level, that is a changing dynamic, it is a dimensional change, he further added.

Spokesperson of Finance Division, Dr. Khaqan Najeeb has said that Pakistan will get oil on deferred payment from Saudi Arabia worth 250 million dollars monthly.

Talking to a private channel, he said that all is set to sign the agreement to get oil of 3 billion dollars on deferred payment during the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. He also said that  Pakistan has already received 3 billion dollars for the balance of payment.

About an hour ahead of the crown prince’s arrival, Finance Minister Asad Umar tweeted that he had held a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and his team. During the meeting, a wide range of investment projects worth billions of dollars was discussed, the minister revealed, adding that MoUs in this regard would be signed later today, Asad further added.

Foreign Office Spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal also confirmed via Twitter that an MoU on the establishment of an integrated complex, and petrochemical refinery would be signed during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan.

While addressing a seminar in Islamabad, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri said that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visit to Pakistan would start a new era of prosperity and economic stability in Pakistan.

The minister said that Pakistan had to play a role to strengthen relations among Muslim countries.

The minister also said the people of Pakistan and armed forces of the country have played a very vital role in eliminating the menace of terrorism and extremism.

The participants of the seminar stated that Pakistan enjoyed a respectable place among Muslim countries and Pakistan had to play an effective role in the unity of Muslim Ummah.

The participants welcomed the visit of Saudi Crown Prince to Pakistan.

Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council and a prominent cleric  Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said Pakistan was committed to steering Muslim Ummah out of the prevailing crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically stated that Pakistan aims at strengthening trust and understanding among all the Muslim countries. The participants of the seminar also underlined that the unity of Muslim Ummah is vulnerable to resolve to confront the challenges of the Muslim world, Tahir Ashrafi concluded the session.

Meanwhile, Pakistan s Law enforcement agencies have taken stern action against “targeted social media campaign” on social media against the visit of Saudi crown prince.

Sources revealed that Five Iranian regimes backed organizations have been found to be involved in the abusive campaign against MBS.

According to Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, will be conferred on the crown prince in an investiture ceremony at the presidency on Monday.

After Pakistan, MBS will travel to India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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The Herald Report