Saudi crown prince sees Pakistan as ‘very important country in future’

Saudi Crown Prince Signs $20B in Investment Deals in Pakistan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is making a £3.8bn ($4.9bn) takeover bid for Manchester United in the hope of becoming the new owner by next season, the Sun newspaper reported, without citing any sources.

Agreements worth billions of dollars will be signed during the visit, he said, adding that huge investments in Pakistan are expected from Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Khan has already visited Saudi Arabia twice since coming to power last summer. "We can not commit to 2030 but we will reach that [figure] one day", he said.

The Saudi crown prince is now on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, the first leg of his Asian tour starting on Sunday.

A man rides past a billboard displaying a portrait of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ahead of the prince's arrival, in Lahore on February 16, 2019.

At the official welcome ceremony, national anthems of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were played, and the crown prince reviewed the guard of honour.

There was relief among Pakistan officials when the Foreign Office announced on Friday night that the de-facto ruler of the Gulf kingdom will arrive on Sunday.

Pakistan's Foreign Office earlier thanked the crown prince for "generously" reducing Saudi visa fees at Khan's request.

The heir to the Saudi throne is accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising members of the Royal family, cabinet ministers and leading Saudi businessmen.

On Saturday, Pakistani leader Khan told the Saudi Gazette newspaper that his country would defend Saudi Arabia in the event of attack.

This will be his first official visit to Pakistan since his elevation to the position of crown prince in April 2017.

Shunned by most of his traditional Western partners after critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder in Istanbul, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is turning to Asia. India says it has incontrovertible evidence of Pakistan's involvement, a charge Islamabad dismisses.

Khan welcomed Saudi investment in areas of oil refining, petrochemicals, energy and other sectors.

Strict security measures have been formulated and implemented across the federal capital and Rawalpindi.

But for analysts, the Asia tour - the largest outing on the worldwide scene for the crown prince since his participation in the G20 summit in Argentina last December - is a timely demonstration to the West that he still has friends in rising Asia.

"Pakistan will always stand with Saudi Arabia whenever it faces a threat in any form to its security and sovereignty".

Former Pakistani diplomat, Asif Durrani, insisted the militant attacks in Iran and Indian Kashmir could be an attempt to overshadow the royal visit and put Pakistan under pressure.

Soldiers keep vigil at a Red Zone ahead of the arrival of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (not pictured) in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has chose to confer Mohammad will Nishan-e-Pakistan - the highest civilian award.

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