Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has delayed his visit to Pakistan by a day, the Pakistan Foreign Office said on Friday without divulging the reason for the change. He was scheduled to visit the country on Saturday for a two-day visit. However, the arrival has been rescheduled and now he would arrive on Sunday. It further said the crown prince "will visit Pakistan on February 17-18, 2019" and the "visit programme remains unchanged".
The schedule change comes a day after Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the terror attack on a CRFP convoy in Jammu and Kashmir in which more than 40 soldiers were killed.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will sign at least eight MoUs during Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's visit to the country, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said on Wednesday. "We hope that at least eight MoUs will be signed during the high-powered visit. Saudi Arabia is our close and trustworthy friend and the relations with the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman will be improved further,” he said. He said that back-to-back visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia also helped to improve the bilateral relations.
Qureshi addressing media in Islamabad said that the two sides had done proper homework ahead of the visit, which will probably be the biggest trip by a Saudi royal, in terms of composition and number of the entourage, in the history of relations between the two countries.
Earlier, personal amenities of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reached Islamabad. The crown prince's belongings, including his exercise equipment and furniture, reached Islamabad in five trucks, the Dawn News reported quoting Saudi Embassy sources.
Prince Muhammad bin Salman will be the guest of honour at international investment conference scheduled to be held here next week. He is supposed to visit four countries but will start his visit from Pakistan. According to sources, a 40-member Saudi delegation, and over 100 Saudi and Pakistani business leaders will attend the international event. The forum will deliberate on energy, petrochemicals, housing, tourism in Punjab and KP, as well as sign MoUs in this regard.
Accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and leading Saudi businessmen, Prince Salman is also expected to arrive in India on February 19 on his maiden trip to the country. During the visit, the Crown Prince will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. He will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
The visit by Prince Salman, who is also the vice president of Saudi Arabia's council of ministers, follows the highly successful trip of Prime Minister Modi to that country in April 2016, during which the two sides agreed to further elevate existing strategic partnership, the MEA said.