— Claims planned Gwadar oil refinery will ‘boost local production’
— Asserts Pak ‘will not let anyone attack Saudi Arabia’
— Posters put up in capital to welcome the prince
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has hailed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan as an example of “historic bilateral ties” between the two countries.
In an exclusive interview to Saudi Gazette, the premier said that the visit will “strengthen the diplomatic support of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and will improve the economic relations of the two countries by identifying new avenues of investment and as well as joint ventures between the two countries”.
PM Imran claimed that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have “similar stance” on regional and global security. “This visit will be an opportunity to discuss key regional and global security issues as the two countries can also exert their energies and influence in facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan,” he said.
During the visit, the prime minister asserted, all aspects of bilateral, regional and global issues, ranging from bilateral cooperation in the economic, diplomatic, political arenas to collaboration in regional peace and stability, especially of relevance to the Muslim Ummah will be discussed.
Speaking of Saudi investment in Gwadar in the shape of an oil refinery, PM Imran said that it would “boost local production as the exchange of skills and transfer of technology would enhance competition and increase the productivity of local refineries”.
“It would also complement the projects under the CPEC. This, of course, is just the beginning of our cooperation and we would like to build upon the successes of this project to further expand cooperation in other areas as well,” he added.
Responding to a question, the premier stressed that “it is Pakistan’s stated position that it will not allow anyone to attack Saudi Arabia. Pakistan will always stand with Saudi Arabia whenever it faces a threat in any form to its security and sovereignty. We want Saudi Arabia as safe and secure as we want Pakistan to be.”
ISLAMABAD DECKED OUT:
The federal capital has been decked with posters to welcome the Saudi crown prince who along with a 40-member delegation and contingent of royal guards, will be reaching the federal capital on Sunday on his first state visit to Pakistan since becoming the heir to the throne.
Earlier scheduled to start on February 16, the two-day visit of the crown prince was delayed on Friday owing to unknown reasons, however, the programme with regard to the prince’s stay in Pakistan will remain unchanged.
The crown prince is expected to arrive around 7 pm. He will be received by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the airbase after which the duo will head to the Prime Minister House where the Saudi prince will be presented a 21-gun salute and guard of honour by a contingent of the armed forces.
The Saudi guests will be provided three-layer box security from the military airbase to the PM House. Triple-one brigade of the country’s armed forces and Saudi Royal Guards will jointly perform the security duties on the occasion.
At the PM House, PM Imran will introduce his cabinet members to the Saudi prince and host a dinner.
Seven planes from Saudia Arabia have landed at the Noor Khan Airbase and 221 people have arrived in Islamabad so far.
Big portraits of Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and President Arif Alvi have been erected on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad.
Banners and posters inscribed with slogans of Pak-Saudi friendship and fraternity have also been put on display along the roads.
The two countries will also discuss ways to develop a robust follow-up mechanism to ensure effective implementation and quick progress on tangible areas of cooperation during the visit that is expected to significantly enhance bilateral ties in all spheres.