Nishan-e-Pakistan awarded to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Feb 18, 2019, 18:16
Nishan-e-Pakistan awarded to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Prince Mohammad will later travel to neighboring India amid heightened tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week's attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) drives a vehicle as he receives Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on his arrival at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Nur Khan Base in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on February 17, 2019.

"Saudi Arabia has always been a friend in need, which is why we value it so much", said Khan, while seated next to Prince Mohammed.

Khan also invited Riyadh to avail opportunities that can arise from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan's close links with Beijing. No reasons were given for the postponements or alternative dates for the tour.

Bin Salman arrived in Pakistan Sunday with an elaborate entourage that included several hundred luxury cars, two C-130 planes and special containers that shipped the prince's belongings ahead of the visit.

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MBS is staging a three-country Asian tour just five months after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a fierce critic, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul ignited a diplomatic crisis. He has denied being involved.

Cash-strapped Pakistan is doing whatever it takes to please friends during their visit which is expected to sign investment agreements worth more than Dollars 10 billion.

The group met the heir to the Saudi throne at the Prime Minister's House who was on a two-day maiden visit to the country as crown prince.

"The brotherly relationship between the kingdom and Pakistan focus on the principle of Islamic solidarity".

As the guardians of most holy sites in the birthplace of Islam, the Saudi royal family carries vast religious clout in Pakistan, a staunchly conservative and mainly Muslim nation of 208 million people.

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Saudi Arabia has pledged investment deals worth $20bn (£15.5bn) with Pakistan which is seeking to bolster its fragile economy.

In October 2017, United agreed a strategic partnership in Saudi Arabia with the country's General Sports Authority (GSA). Twitteratis backlash was prompted after Prime Minister's Office posted photos and videos of PM Imran Khan warmly receiving the visiting dignitary. Khan, a populist new premier, has refused to use the residence in a bid to save taxpayers' money.

Earlier, speculations were rife when the Crown Prince's trip was delayed by a day soon after the Pulwama terror attack in India.

India is garnering diplomatic support after the attack and has vowed to "isolate" Pakistan in the worldwide community, saying it has "incontrovertible evidence" of Islamabad's role.

"I was honoured to meet the president of Pakistan".

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