AN emotional sendoff

PM, COAS see off ‘king of hearts’ President Arif Alvi confers Nishan-e-Pakistan upon MBS Khan thanks Prince Mohammed

Islamabad - “This is just a beginning!” remarked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman about the broadening of Pak-Saudi ties, as he concluded a spectacular visit to Pakistan on Monday.

Shortly before he and Army Chief General Qamar Javaid Bajwa saw the distinguished guest off at the airport, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed immense pleasure and gratitude of Pakistanis to the Crown Prince for proving himself to be a true “ambassador of Pakistan”.

Speaking at Nur Khan Air Base before the departure of the Royal, Premier Khan said “I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Pakistan” for the $20 billion investment Saudi Arabia was going to make in Pakistan and the announcement of immediate release of over 2,000 Pakistanis jailed in the Kingdom.

He expressed satisfaction over the signing of new agreements between the two countries, saying the partnership has managed to expand beyond its “narrow confines” and is now “developing into other spheres”. “But what I feel is that this is just the beginning,” he asserted.

MBS orders release of


Pakistani prisoners

The Crown Prince in his remarks said that he strongly believed in the merit of Pakistan’s present leadership and the bright future of the country, which was set to become one of the major world economies.

“What we did today, it’s the beginning and we hope in the close future we do more and more partnering with Pakistan,” said Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is also known as MBS.

The Saudi royal bid goodbye to the army chief, the prime minister and others there on the red carpet, before entering his plane and waving to the crowd from the top of the steps.

Prime Minister Khan, leaving aside the protocol, himself drove Prince Mohammed to the air base as sign of warmth and affection between the leadership of the two brotherly countries.

Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, Pakistan cabinet members, and top military and civilian officers were also present at the air base to see off the royal dignitary and his delegation.

In a tweet posted earlier in the day, Prime Minister Khan said, “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman won the hearts of the people of Pakistan when he said ‘consider me Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia’ in response to my asking him to treat the 2.5 million Pakistanis working in KSA as his own.”

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also called on Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the Prime Minister House on Monday.

There was no official statement issued about the meeting. However, reliable sources said MBS lauded professional capabilities of the Pakistan armed forces and the two leaders agreed on enhancing defence cooperation between the two countries.

The prince also held a meeting with parliamentary delegation including Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. The guest was presented a gold plated gun by the senate chairman.




President Arif Alvi on Monday conferred Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with Nishan-e-Pakistan, country’s highest civil award, in a prestigious ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The honour was bestowed upon the Crown Prince in recognition of his efforts and contributions towards enhancing the brotherly relations between the two countries.

The Crown Prince, along with Prime Minister Imran Khan, reached the President House in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, escorted by the Presidents’ Guards.

President Alvi received the dignitary at the entrance of the Aiwan-e-Sadr along with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Hussain and other high civil and military officials.

On both sides of the avenue, traditionally attired troupes, belonging to different parts of the country, presented dances to cheer the Saudi delegation.

Three Services Chiefs, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, federal ministers, ambassadors and other high civil and military officials attended the ceremony.





PM, MBS airport addresses

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech at Nur Khan Airbase said that Prince Mohammed has won the hearts of Pakistanis through his love and kindness.

“I woke up this morning and when I looked at my mobile phone, I realised ─ after your statement last night saying that you would be Pakistan’s ambassador in Saudi Arabia ─ that if you stood in elections here, you would get more votes than me,” the prime minister joked, addressing the crown prince who was standing at a podium to his right. “You are extremely popular,” he added.

“I think Pakistan’s geostrategic location, the comparative advantage Saudi Arabia has in certain areas, and the advantages that Pakistan has ─ the combination augurs very well for the future.”

“We want you to consider Pakistan your second home. The PM House, where you were staying, rest assured that when you are in Pakistan ... [you can] consider it your own house and come and stay there,” he told MBS.

Prince Mohammed responded to the prime minster’s offer by saying that he also feels “at home in Pakistan”.

“We believe in Pakistan’s future and that it has a huge opportunity. In 2030, Pakistan will be next to two huge economies. One, China will be the largest economy in 2030, and two, India will be the third-largest economy so Pakistan will definitely benefit from these neighbours,” he said.

“There is great leadership here to put Pakistan in the right position. We can see it happening,” MBS said.

“We saw the Pakistani economy grow by 5 percent in 2018 so we believe that Pakistan has huge potential, it could be one of top 20 economies in the future, easily. If the efforts of the leadership, the people of Pakistan, and their allies come together, definitely it can reach that one day.”

“So because of that, we believe in Pakistan. Because of our long relations [...] we want to be part of that journey and we want to risk our money, to risk our efforts, to start from day one,” he explained.

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