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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Arrives in Pakistan

18 February 2019

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed a long alliance dating back to the founding of the Islamic republic.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had "ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners", after a request by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry said in a post on Twitter.

The crown prince also said he intends to make Saudi Arabia a tourism destination: "We are going to target 100 million tourists ..."

"I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in (a) bad situation", Khan told the royal guest, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be mutually beneficial for the countries.

The chairman of the upper house of parliament said that "Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 is a roadmap of peace, growth and prosperity".

Pakistan is facing a serious balance of payments crisis and hopes the huge deals signed over the two-day visit - seven separate agreements and memorandums of understanding - will boost its struggling economy. Khan attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October that saw a wave of cancellations linked to the Khashoggi killing. He said that the signing of $20 billion agreements was just a start as he expected Saudi investment to grow to a much bigger size over time.

"The future is exciting for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after joining hands", he said.

India says two masterminds of Kashmir bombing killed in clash
Briefing media after the cabinet meeting on Friday, Jaitley said the perpetrators of the attack would pay a "heavy price" for it. Modi has promised a strong response and says he has given the military a free hand to tackle cross-border militancy.

The crown prince's visit marks a deepening of ties between allies whose relationship has in the past centred on oil-rich Saudi Arabia backing Pakistan's economy during hard periods, and in return Pakistan's powerful army lending support to Saudi Arabia and its royal family. He was greeted by a host of Pakistani Cabinet ministers and the country's powerful army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. - Photo courtesy Arab News In a break from protocol, Prime Minister Khan personally drove the Saudi crown prince to PM House, where a welcome ceremony was held in his honour.

The move is at odds with other countries who have condemned the Kingdom over its role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi previous year.

Pakistan Air Force aircraft escorting the crown prince's aircraft on Sunday.

The club did not comment on the reports about takeover interest from Saudi Arabia ahead of the minister's denial.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and top government and military officials greeted him at Islamabad's airport, where he received a 21-gun salute. At places cultural troupe depicting the regional culture seemed welcoming the Saudi Crown Prince by presenting traditional dance.

While Pakistan stands to benefit from Saudi Arabia's largesse, the south Asian country is also important to the kingdom.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Arrives in Pakistan