Saudi crown prince heads for Pakistan amid India tensions

Avram Glazer
Avram Glazer

19 February, 2019

The prince, who will be accompanied by a delegation of businessmen, is expected to sign investment agreements worth billions of dollars with cash-strapped Islamabad.

Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman was greeted with a booming 21-gun salute in Pakistan Sunday, as the powerful royal scion kicked off an Asia tour months after being tarnished by his alleged links to the murder of a journalist.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are working together to expand economic partnership, particularly in the tourism sector, he added.

The two countries made a decision to establish a Joint Supreme Coordination Council co-chaired by the Saudi Crown Prince and Pakistan's Prime Minister for enhancing and institutionalizing the bilateral relations in various fields. Although Pakistan has been accused by India and worldwide communities, while it denied involvement in the attack.

The Prime Minister briefed the Crown Prince on the grave human rights violations in IOK and the need for resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

"We believe in our region that's why we are investing in it and we believe that we are going to have one day a great Middle East surrounded by Pakistan from the east side", said MBS.

But that is now in doubt after the Taliban's planned meeting with Khan, also set for Sunday, was called off at the last minute, Taliban sources said.

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The joint statement, while reaffirming the historic relationship between the two brotherly countries, applauds the growing momentum in bilateral ties in all areas.

The two nations' relationship has in the past centred on oil-rich Saudi Arabia backing Pakistan's economy during hard periods, and in return Pakistan's powerful army lending support to Saudi Arabia and its royal family.

"The founding fathers for both countries established these relations on the principles of truthfulness, common understanding and mutual respect that go back to the first days of the establishment of Pakistan, post-World War II", he said.

While Pakistan's powerful military has always been a reliable ally of Saudi Arabia, Islamabad is wary about being drawn into the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement. The award was presented by Pakistan President Arif Alvi at a special ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad.

The Pakistani premier reiterated that his country will not allow anyone to attack Saudi Arabia.

The crown prince's visit to Islamabad will also apparently coincide with possible new talks between the Taliban and the United States on Afghanistan.

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