On Sunday Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arrived in Pakistan and was received by its Prime Minister Imran Khan himself at the airport. Pakistan PM Khan was escorted by country’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at Nur Khan airbase. The preparations were made beforehand to welcome the crown prince as he was honoured with a 21-gun salute by a contingent of the Armed forces in Islamabad.
This is Saudi Royal’s first visit to Pakistan since he was crowned prince in the year 2017. With this visit, the Saudi Prince has launched his Asia tour. For Pakistan, it was a much-needed visit given its teetering economy. Recently Pakistan PM had also posted a video asking for financial aid from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other countries. The visit is expected to lead to a number of agreements and MoUs in various sectors between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
After arrival, the Saudi Prince and Imran Khan have signed investment deals up to $20 billion for economically challenged Pakistan. The Saudi royal’s three-country visit (Pakistan, India and China) has come in the backdrop of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Though Pakistan PM has already made a visit to Saudi Arabia right after he took office. This visit comes at a time when both India and Pakistan have unsettling relations, especially after Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir. India has asked other countries to boycott Pakistan as it blames the country for conspiring and giving safe havens to terrorists. Iran (Saudi Arabia’s arch rival) has also accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorism.
The crown prince’s visit aims to improve its diplomatic relations as Istanbul journalist Khashoggi’s death had dented its image globally and resulted in a diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia. After his two-day stay in Pakistan, the Saudi Prince also known as MBS will travel to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, followed by his visit to China for two days i.e.Thursday and Friday, with China MBS will be finishing his Asia tour.