Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman speaks out on takeover reports

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 prince starts Asia tour with deals to invest $20 billion in Pakistan
Leonard Rios | 19 February, 2019, 04:42

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, looking to boost ties with Asian allies, arrives in India on Tuesday for a two-day visit amid rising expectations of further investment deals following a high-profile trip to Pakistan.

The crown prince has shown a big appetite for bringing sporting events to his country over the past couple of years, including motor sport and boxing, while Brazil and Argentina played a football worldwide in Riyadh last October.

Information minister Fawad Chaudhry informed today that MBS has ordered the release of over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners.

Prince Mohamad Bin Salman will visit India tomorrow, followed by China on Wednesday and Thursday.

As the guardians of most holy sites in the birthplace of Islam, the Saudi royal family carries vast religious influence in Pakistan, a staunchly conservative and mostly Muslim country of 208 million people. Furthermore, Salman is scheduled to visit India next. Last year, Pakistan was reportedly preparing to send troops to Saudi Arabia in an advisory and training role.

But the crown prince's arrival comes amid a vow by India to isolate Pakistan internationally following the deadliest attack in Kashmir in decades. The adverse response of users was triggered as the government in media hype had lately announced that they are converting the PM House into the Islamabad National University to promote higher education.

The Crown Prince was honored due to his "outstanding support for reinvigorating Pak-Saudi bilateral relationship".

The crown prince's stop in Pakistan is the first leg of a broader Asia trip that will also take him to India, South Korea and China, where he's scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping.

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Earlier Sunday, MBS was greeted with a booming 21-gun salute and was warmly embraced by Khan and powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as he stepped onto a red carpet flanked by an honour guard at a military airbase near Islamabad.

The crown prince has struggled to rehabilitate his worldwide reputation following the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul previous year. With plans on to seek help from International Monetary fund, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been seeking help from friendly nations so as to minimize the bailout package required from IMF.

The largest deal signed on Sunday, a $10 billion refinery to be developed in the port of Gwadar by Saudi Aramco, will take up to five years to develop.

MBS said, "We are very glad to be today in Pakistan, a dear country to all Saudis".

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy.

He also expressed his great hope in the region of the Middle East, and said that was the reason for the huge investments being made by Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Khan presented his cabinet members to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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