Mon, 25 Mar 2019

Islamabad [Pakistan], Feb 18 (ANI): Saudi Arabia on Sunday signed eight agreements amounting up to USD 20 billion agreement to invest in cash-starved Pakistan.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, widely known as 'MBS', who is on a two-day visit to the country.

Following the signing of the agreements, Khan said that it was a "great day for Pakistanis", adding that Saudi Arabia "has always been a friend to Pakistan, whenever it needed support," The News International reported.

The cricketer-turned-politician urged the Saudi leadership to consider relaxation for Pakistani pilgrims who go to Haj pilgrimage every year.

Last month, Saudi Arabia had agreed to provide USD 3 billion to Pakistan as a balance of payment support to stabilise its ailing economy besides providing oil on deferred payment for three years.

Thanking the Pakistani leadership for its hospitality, the Saudi Crown Prince remarked that his country will make investments to support cash-strapped Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has a "great future today with a great leadership".

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other ministers were present at the agreement signing ceremony.

Earlier on Sunday evening, the Saudi Crown Prince was given a red carpet welcome by Khan in a break of protocol. He along with his cabinet ministers welcomed the visiting dignitary.

This is Saudi Crown Prince's maiden visit to Pakistan since becoming the heir to the throne in 2017. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the royal family, ministers and businessmen.

The Saudi Crown Prince was slated to arrive in Islamabad on Saturday, but the visit was postponed by a day. The Pakistan foreign ministry did not divulge the reason behind the change in schedule, adding that the bilateral engagements "remains unchanged".

The sudden change in the schedule came after Saudi Arabia strongly condemned Thursday's terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

Denouncing the deadly assault, Saudi Arabia on Friday reinforced its support to India against terrorism and extremism, wishing for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

After visiting Pakistan, the Saudi Crown Prince will embark on a maiden two-day visit to India beginning from February 19. Counter-terrorism and energy security are expected to be the top agenda for talks during the visit. He is also expected to visit China too on this trip. (ANI)

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