Saudi Crown Prince to visit Pakistan for investment deals

Saudi Crown Prince to visit Pakistan for investment deals

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to arrive in the Pakistani capital for a state visit to a key strategic ally that is expected to see the Gulf kingdom sign investment deals worth more than $10bn, government officials said, Trend reports referring to Aljazeera.

Mohammed bin Salman will land in Islamabad on Sunday for a two-day visit that will see him hold talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and President Arif Alvi, Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement this week.

Prince Mohammed (also known as MBS), a powerful figure in the Saudi hierarchy who has wielded control over the country's policies since his elevation to the role of Crown Prince in 2017, will also hold talks with Pakistani senators.

The visit comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its economy and investments in foreign countries, with falling oil prices hitting the Kingdom's economy hard.

The country has also faced a degree of diplomatic isolation after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul last year.

MBS leaves Pakistan on Monday, with Malaysia, India and China next on his itinerary.

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", Pakistan's foreign office said on Wednesday.

High on the agenda will be agreements that would see an oil refinery established in the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar, as well as the possible acquisition of two major power plants by Saudi companies, officials and analysts told Al Jazeera.

"The projects, if they materialise, they will be in the double digit billion dollars," said Haroon Sharif, the head of the Pakistani government's Board of Investment.

Sharif stressed that the trip was also aimed at spurring private Saudi investment in Pakistan, which has been struggling with a balance of payments crisis and a faltering domestic economy.

"The crown prince is also bringing about 25 businessmen with him and these men will now have meetings in other sectors like food processing, IT, the finance sector, construction and hospitality," added Sharif.

"They will be having business-to-business meetings during the visit and then we will have a follow up investors conference after this."

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