Saudi Arabia signs $20bn in deals with Pakistan

Labourers ride past welcoming posters featuring the portrait of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a street in Islamabad on February. — AFP

Saudi Arabia signs $20bn in deals with Pakistan

"We have been a brotherly country, a friendly country to Pakistan".

The Saudi crown prince held a meeting with President Alvi following his arrival at the President House.

The Crown Prince said the $20 billion figure represents only the start of an economic tie-up that would bring the historic allies even closer. He was greeted by a host of Pakistani Cabinet ministers and the country's powerful army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

"On the flip side, there is reassurance that Saudi Arabia will not only continue to serve as a strategic friend who will help shore up Pakistan's finances when needed, but it's also going to become a participant in the wider investment in Pakistan".

The Crown Prince is also to visit India where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Deeply rooted ties and mutual interests aside, we should not belittle the importance of the personal bond that was developed between the crown prince and Imran Khan, who emerged as a trustworthy man of his word when he ensured that Saudi Arabia was the first country he visited as Pakistan's prime minister.

As per details, the crown prince after having breakfast at Prime Minister house, discussed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Crown Prince and Khan introduced members of their respective delegations, following which the crown prince planted a sapling.

The famed Triple-one Brigade of the country's armed forces and Saudi Royal Guards are jointly performing the security duties during the trip of the Crown Prince, which is his first state visit to Pakistan since becoming the heir to the throne in 2017.

According to Advisor to the Prime Minister on Trade, Razzak Dawood, agreements worth between Dollars 10-15 billion will be signed, including one about Saudi investment to build an oil refinery.

An assortment of lawmakers under Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani's leadership called upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Monday at the PM House, according to a press release issued by Senate Secretariat.

Khan himself drove the prince to the prime minister's residence, where he was met by an honor guard.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are both involved in a months-long push led by Washington aimed at ending the conflict in Afghanistan.

Also on Sunday, Khan and the Crown Prince held a one-on-one meeting which was followed by the inaugural session of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, Dawn news said.

"We have always said if the Holy Cities of Islam are threatened, Pakistan would go all out to defend the Holy Cities", Khan was quoted as saying.

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