Amid Pulwama tension, Saudi Crown Prince likely to sign $21 billion deal during Pak visit

Amid tensions over Pulwama attack and many blaming Pakistan for the deadliest terrorist attack which claimed lives of more than 40 CRPF jawans, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is likely to visit Pakistan today where he is expected to sign investment agreements worth more than $21 billion.

Although India has said that it will ensure ‘complete isolation’ of Pakistan and has withdrawn most favoured nation tag from the neighbouring country, over 40 countries have condemned the terrorist attack and extended support to India.

However, cash-strapped and in search of allies, Pakistan is set to welcome the Saudi Crown Prince in a biggest visit by any foreign leader to the neighbour State since Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015.

Pakistan has described the visit as a “historical one” which will help stabilise its crippling economy.

The Crown Prince, who is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, will be accorded a red carpet welcome and presented a guard of honour at the Prime Minister’s House after his arrival at Noor Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi, reports Dawn news.

During the visit, the Crown Prince will hold one-on-one meetings with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Khan. He will also meet Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

A high-power delegation comprising key Ministers and some prominent businesspersons, besides members of the royal family, are coming with the Crown Prince.

He was initially due to reach Pakistan on Saturday but his arrival was delayed by a day leading to unease in the government circles in Islamabad with fear that the Saudi prince might call off the trip due to security reasons following Pulwama attack.

It may be noted that the gulf country has in recent months helped keep Pakistan’s economy afloat by bolstering its rapidly dwindling foreign exchange reserves with a $6 billion loan.

It is now strongly believed that India should rethink about its trade, especially import of oil, from Saudi Arabia. As US has already become one of the largest exporters of crude, India has an option to put pressure on the Gulf country, believe experts.

With IANS inputs..