Pak confers highest civilian award Nishan-e-Pakistan on Saudi Crown Prince

by Garry Watts February 18, 2019, 18:17
Pak confers highest civilian award Nishan-e-Pakistan on Saudi Crown Prince

Prince Salman said Saudi "cannot say no to Pakistan, whatever you (Pakistan) want we will do". 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. Twitteratis backlash was prompted after Prime Minister's Office posted photos and videos of PM Imran Khan warmly receiving the visiting dignitary.

Cash-strapped and in need of friends, Pakistan welcomed the crown prince with open arms and in grandiose fashion, including sending fighter jets to guide his incoming plane once it entered Pakistani airspace. The senior diplomat praised a long history of Saudi-Pakistani political relations, adding the two countries had been supporting each other at the worldwide level and suggested that Pakistan could help mediate the Saudi-Qatari spat. Prince Salman arrived in Pakistan on Sunday amid heightened security and arrangements in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Of the latest deals, Prince bin Salman said: "It's big for phase one, and definitely [our commercial relationship] will grow every month and every year, and it will be beneficial to both countries". Seven agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed as part of the visit, the Kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed. Earlier, the Saudi prince also met a joint parliamentary delegation of all parties and discussed various matters of interest. Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will hold a meeting with MBS around noon. The federal capital's "red zone", which houses the Parliament House and the Presidency, has been sealed off while civil aviation authorities were told to reschedule flights during the royal guests' arrival and departure. A cultural performance is scheduled during the lunch, officials said. While Saudi Arabia has condemned the Pulwama attack, the visit was not called off.

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"Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighbouring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully", said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. The Crown Prince visit coincides with Pakistan becoming increasingly dependent on Saudi Arabia while relations with China, its closest ally, have become strained.

MBS will travel to India after his Pakistan visit, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Under this council, a steering committee and joint working groups have been set up at ministerial and senior official levels, to develop frameworks of cooperation in specific projects and submit recommendations to the respective ministers.

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