All set for Saudi crown prince’s visit

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ISLAMABAD: Arrangements have been finalised for the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) to Pakistan and the required equipment and luxury vehicles have reached the Prime Minister’s House.

Sources say 750 rooms in eight hotels have been booked for the Saudi delegation. Seven BMW Seven Series, one Land Cruiser and eight containers have arrived in Pakistan from Saudi Arabia.

The luxury vehicles were carried to the Noor Khan Airbase by two C-130 planes. Pakistan has reserved 300 Land Cruisers for the Saudi delegation. A five-tier VVIP security plan has been devised for the delegation. Over 2,000 police and Rangers personnel will be deployed for the security of the Saudi dignitaries. Drones or toy-like helicopters will be shot down immediately after coming into sight in the capital. The Red Zone and its adjoining areas will be sealed.

According to diplomatic sources, some 123 Saudi Arabian Royal Guards will be on duty for the security of Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) during his visit to the federal capital. The Saudi crown prince will arrive in Pakistan on February 16 for a two-day visit, according to the Saudi ambassador, and is expected to stay at the Prime Minister House.

A red carpet will be rolled out in the PM office where the crown prince would be presented a guard of honour. During his two-day stay, Prince Salman will call on President Dr Arif Alvi and would meet the prime minister and the chief of army staff, a foreign office press release said on Wednesday.

Mohammad Bin Salman will land in Islamabad with four jets. His plane will be provided protocol by Pakistan’s JF-17 jets upon entering the country’s airspace. The government has reserved some 300 Land Cruisers for the visiting Saudi delegation. A gym has also been set up in the Prime Minister House for the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia.

The crown prince will be welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet upon landing, from where he will be taken to the PM House. A delegation from the Senate will also call on the crown prince to discuss ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Office said.

On the sidelines of the visit, businessmen from the two countries will meet to discuss opportunities of collaboration in the private sector.

During his stay, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will be signing a number of agreements and MoUs related to diverse sectors including investment, finance, power, renewable energy, internal security, media, culture and sports. 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, the Foreign Office said. The visit of the crown prince is expected to significantly enhance bilateral ties between the two countries in all spheres of cooperation, the statement added. MBS will be accompanied by other Saudi princes and key members of the royal family during his trip.

Earlier, on Monday, the crown prince’s security team arrived in Pakistan and visited various places across the federal capital to review security arrangements, sources said. “A team of doctors and a delegation of Saudi media persons who will cover Mohammed Bin Salman’s tour have also arrived in Islamabad,” the sources added.

Earlier, diplomatic sources had informed that a trade deal worth $14 billion would be signed between Pakistan and the kingdom during the visit. The trade deal would be the biggest foreign investment in the country’s history.

In October, last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had visited Riyadh where he tried to woo potential investors and secure funds to overcome the nation’s ongoing balance of payment crisis.

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