Pakistan will be Very Important Country in Future: Saudi Crown Prince

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Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman. — AFP

ISLAMABAD,(IANS)  Visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said that Pakistan will be a very, very important country in the coming future and that his country had been waiting for a leadership like that of Prime Minister Imran Khan to partner with Islamabad in various areas.

The Crown Prince arrived in Pakistan on Sunday evening on a two-day visit after which he will travel to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing a reception dinner at the Prime Minister House here, the Crown Prince called Pakistan a “dear country” to all Saudis and said the two countries had “walked together in tough and good times”, Dawn news reported on Monday.

“We believe that Pakistan is going to be a very, very important country in the coming future and we want to be sure we are part of that. Pakistan today has a great future in store with a great leadership.”

The Saudi royal said his country will collaborate with Pakistan economically, politically and in terms of security. “We believe in our region, that is why we are investing in it.”

“This is my first trip (to the) east since I became the Crown Prince (in 2017) and the first country (that I have visited) is Pakistan,” he added.

Bin Salman also ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners languishing in the kingdom’s prisons after the issue was raised by Khan at the dinner.

Giving details, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tweeted on Monday: “Cases of the remaining (Pakistani prisoners) will be reviewed. People of Pakistan thank His Royal Highness Prince Salman for responding immediately to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request.”

Khan had also urged the Crown Prince to look into the hardships of the Pakistani labourers working in the Kingdom.

“Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman won the hearts of the people of Pakistan when he said ‘Consider me Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia’ in response to my asking him to treat the 2.5 million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia as his own,” the Pakistani leader tweeted.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on Sunday signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) for bilateral cooperation worth $20 billion.

The deals included exploration of investment opportunities in refining and petrochemical sectors; cooperation in sports; financing agreement for import of Saudi goods; power generation projects; and development of renewable energy projects.

Also on Sunday, Khan and Bin Salman held a one-on-one meeting which was followed by the inaugural session of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council.

The Saudi royal’s visit was initially scheduled for February 16, but was delayed by a day for unknown reasons.

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