-all commercial flights will be suspended just after the crown prince’s plane enters Pakistan
-Saudi Arabia likely to give Pakistanis more job opportunities to work on building new megacities
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday disclosed that a Supreme Coordination Council (SCC) has been set up to strengthen the ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The move was made in the background of a first two-day official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan in which $21 billion worth of agreements – including a $10 billion oil refinery in Gawadar – are expected to be signed.
“The SCC affairs will be looked after by the crown prince and Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan,” Chaudhry revealed.
Discussing the responsibilities of the SCC, he said that “the Joint Working Group [SCC] will look for opportunities in different sectors where more progress can be done”.
Referring towards the agreements, likely to be signed during the crown prince’s visit, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) stalwart said that “the [expected] Saudi investment will be the biggest foreign investment in the history of Pakistan”.
Chaudhry also claimed that the visit will “see the herald of a new friendship between the two countries”.
OIL REFINERY TO BE SET UP IN GWADAR
According to the Foreign Office, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a petrochemical refinery in Gawadar, Balochistan will be signed during Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, in a tweet, said that “during the visit of HRH the Saudi
#CrownPrince a MoU on the establishment of an integrated complex, petrochemical refinery [will] be signed.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) February 16, 2019
“Saudi Arabia, which is building two new megacities to diversify its economy by minimising its reliance on a crude oil-based economy, is likely to give more job opportunities to working Pakistanis for the aforementioned project,” Chaudhry shared.
“Riyadh has abolished the visa fee for Pakistanis while Islamabad has also relaxed visa formalities for foreign visitors,” he said while adding that “we will also give incentives to Arab investors who are willing to invest in Pakistan”.
The minister also observed that the government and opposition are on “one page” with regard to Pakistan’s ties with the world’s biggest oil exporter.
However, it was earlier reported that against the parliamentary traditions, the opposition members will not be invited to the official banquet to be hosted in honour of the Saudi prince.
PM TO RECEIVE CROWN PRINCE
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the premier will personally receive the de-facto Saudi leader – who will stay in the Prime Minister house during his stay in Pakistan.
According to the Foreign Office, the crown prince, who was expected to land on Saturday, will now arrive on Sunday. However, the reasons for the delay are unknown yet.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the federal government has planned an unprecedented welcome for the prince as a six-member delegation of Saudi government reached Pakistan to oversee arrangements in connection with MbS’ upcoming visit.
According to the security plan, the crown prince’s plane would be escorted by jet fighters of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) till landing at Nur Khan Airbase upon arrival in Pakistan’s airspace.
All commercial flights will be suspended just after the crown prince’s plane enters Pakistan. All private planes will also be removed from Benazir Bhutto International Airport and Nur Khan Airbase. The crown prince will be taken to PM house by road amid tight security.
Special passes will be issued to security personnel’s appointed for the security of royal guests and without a pass, no security official will be allowed to be deployed on the route.
However, contrary to media reports, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqaat brushed aside the rumours of the city getting blocked and cellular service suspended during Prince the high-profile visit.
“God willing, everything will be normal,” he remarked in a tweet.
The deputy commissioner clarified that only red zone and some adjoining areas would have restricted entry for a certain time.