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Saudi Crown Prince signs deals to invest $20 bn in cash-strapped Pakistan

This will be his first official visit to Pakistan since his elevation to the position of crown prince in April 2017

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo: Reuters)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo: Reuters)

Amid heightened security, cash-strapped was Sunday ready to receive Saudi Mohammad bin Salman, whose maiden trip to was delayed by a day for unknown reasons.

Unease ran in the government circles in that the Saudi might call off the trip due to security reasons after building up of tensions between and following a terror attack on soldiers in on Thursday, according to officials privy to the developments.

But there was a sigh of relief when the announced on Friday night that the de-facto ruler of the Gulf Kingdom will arrive on Sunday.

No reason was given for the rescheduling of the planned arrival of the However, the duration of two-day was not curtailed, nor the meetings and investment plans.

The was due to reach on Saturday, but his arrival was delayed for a day.

on Friday said it stood with India's fight against terrorism and extremism and denounced as "cowardly" the attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group in that killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers.

The crown prince, who is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Imran Khan, will be accorded a red carpet welcome and presented a of honour at the PM House after his arrival at in

According to official media, the prince will be received by Khan and members of his cabinet at the air base. He will be accompanied by a high-powered delegation, including members of Saudi Royal family, key ministers and

This will be his first official visit to Pakistan since his elevation to the position of in April 2017.

During his visit, Muhammad bin Salman, colloquially known as MBS, will meet Arif Alvi, and chief

Pakistan and will sign a number of agreements and MoUs in diverse sectors.

According to to PM on Trade, Razzak Dawood, agreements worth between USD 10-15 billion will be signed, including one about Saudi investment to build an The refinery once ready will help to save about USD 1.25 billion in imports bills.

The two sides will also set up an advisory council led by the of Pakistan to follow up the agreement singed so that they are implemented on time.

Special arrangements were made in to accord a warm welcome to the prince and his entourage on their arrival.

Big portraits of MBS, Salman, Prime Minister Khan and 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.

A big portrait of the crown prince, 120 feet tall and 45 feet wide, was also installed on the parliament building.

Locally built jets will escort the plane of the prince after it entered Pakistani airspace.

Elaborate security arrangement were made and the routes leading to Red Zone where all important government offices and diplomatic missions were located was sealed for common public.

A four-tier security arrangements have been made for the prince. The outer most tier will be manned by police, the second by paramilitary Ranger, the third by the and the fourth and inner most by the royal guards of the prince.

The prince will also use about 130 royal guards. A 235-member delegation of the (IMCTC), led by Pakistan's former chief Raheel Sharif, is in the capital to ensure foolproof security.

A holiday was declare for Monday to avoid tension for workers and students as more than 1,000 security check points were set up in the city and at entry places.

First Published: Sun, February 17 2019. 14:10 IST
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