ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman departed on Monday following a two-day successful trip to Pakistan.
Prior to his departure, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a joint news conference with the Saudi prince.
“I looked at my phone this morning and realized that if you [Mohammad bin Salman] stood for elections in Pakistan you would get more votes than me,” Prime Minister Khan said on the prince’s statement that he was Pakistan’s ambassador in Saudi Arabia.
The prime minister thanked the Saudi crown prince for announcing the release of Pakistani prisoners in the Kingdom.
“This is the first time Pakistan, Saudi Relations are developing into other spheres,” the prime minister said, adding that the geostrategic importance of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be an advantage and the combination of the two countries would work well in the future.
“We want you to consider Pakistan your second home. Consider PM House your own house whenever you come to Pakistan.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country believed in Pakistan’s future. “In 2030 Pakistan will be next to China and India’s economy.”
He added the leadership and people of Pakistan can take Pakistan to great economic heights.
“Whatever we did was the beginning and I hope in the near future we do more.”
The Saudi crown prince reached Pakistan on Sunday and was greeted by Prime Minister Imran Khan and high-ranking officials at the Nur Khan airbase. He was later presented with a guard of honour at the PM House.
On the first day of his visit, the crown prince held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, while officials of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs).
“Saudi Arabia always stood beside Pakistan in difficult times,” Prime Minister Khan said while addressing the MoU signing ceremony.
The prime minister said that the two countries need to extend cooperation in tourism, petrochemicals, and other fields.
“We are taking Pak-Saudi ties to its zenith,” said the PM, adding that in future the relations would reach new heights.
The PM also requested the Saudi prince to ease the immigration process for Haj pilgrims from Pakistan and 3,000 Pakistanis in Saudi prisons should be released. The Saudi crown prince assured the prime minister of every form of cooperation in this regard.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said investment would prove to be fruitful for both Pakistan and the Kingdom. “Pakistani leadership is impressive and the country’s future seems quite bright,” said the crown prince.
“After becoming a crown prince, this is my first visit to Asia, and Pakistan is the first country I am visiting,” said Mohammad Bin Salman.
Prince Salman said that Pakistan is a very important country for Saudi Arabia and he was very pleased to visit the country.
He said that the kingdom will invest further in the country.
During the visit, a high-profile delegation from Saudi Arabia signed seven MoUs and investment agreements with Pakistan, worth over $20 billion, to boost bilateral ties.
Short-term (one to two years)
Saudi Arabia to invest in RLNG plants amounting to $4 billion
ACWA Power to invest in renewable energy amounting to $2 billion
Saudi Fund for Pakistan to make investment of $1 billion
Mid-Term (two to three years)
Petrol chemical projects amounting to $1 billion
Food and agriculture projects investment to be $1 bln
Long term investment (three to five years)
Aramco oil refinery to make investment of $10 billion
Mineral Development Sector $2 billion
Saudi Arab to invest amounting to $21 bln in one to five years
Release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners ordered
On Monday, the Saudi crown prince ordered the release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
“HRH Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has graciously agreed to free 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia with immediate effect,” Foreign Minister Qureshi tweeted.
“Cases of the remaining will be reviewed. People of Pakistan thank HRH for responding immediately to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request,” the foreign minister added.
Highest civilian order
The Saudi crown prince was conferred with the country’s highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan during a ceremony at the President House on Monday.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the heads of the three armed forces. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and members of the federal cabinet were also present at the ceremony.
The crown prince, commonly known as MbS, was given a special protocol as he went from the President House to the PM House on a horse carriage accompanied by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
President Alvi received MbS upon arrival the President House. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry were also present when the Saudi crown prince and the prime minister arrived at the President House.
A meeting was held between President Alvi and the Saudi crown prince after which a ceremony was held in his honour and he was conferred the Nishan-e-Pakistan.
Addressing the luncheon ceremony, President Alvi said, “It is a privilege for me to host this banquet.”
“Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been partners for centuries. Despite the geographical distance between us, we are very close in our hearts,” the president added. He further said, “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have similar directions for peace in the region and elimination of corruption.”
“The recent visit of the prime minister and your visit cements the friendship between us,” he continued. “It is a golden era for Pakistan as it is open for investment,” the president upheld.
The Saudi crown prince also addressed the ceremony and said, “I thank you for honouring me with Pakistan’s highest award.”
“The brotherly relationship between the Kingdom and Pakistan is a model that should be followed by other nations,” Mohammad bin Salman said.
Saudi crown prince meets COAS
Prior to the ceremony at the President House, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry tweeted about the meeting and said, “During the meeting, they discussed the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence.”
According to sources, regional security focusing on the Middle East was discussed during the meeting.
Pakistan’s initiatives on the ongoing peace talks between the United States and Taliban were also discussed, the sources added.