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Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman's visit to Pakistan postponed: Reports

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NewsDrum Desk
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Islamabad, May 11 (PTI) Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's much-anticipated visit to Pakistan has been deferred for unspecified reasons, according to media reports on Saturday.

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He was earlier expected to arrive in Islamabad on May 19 on a two-day visit, Geo News reported.

Commenting on the visit of the Saudi crown prince, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch on Friday clarified that details of the visit will be made public as soon as a schedule is worked out between Islamabad and Riyadh.

Baloch was confident that the visit would take place soon and surely be valuable as the people of Pakistan were anxiously waiting for the leader from the brotherly country.

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Officials in Riyadh and Islamabad are holding consultations on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit to cash-strapped Pakistan, official sources said on Saturday.

The clarification from the government sources was issued after reports emerged that the high-profile visit had been delayed due to unspecified reasons.

According to the sources, the final date for Muhammad bin Salman’s visit has not been decided yet and Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar is in contact with the Saudi authorities.

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The high-level visit was likely to take place after the recent diplomatic and trade-related engagements between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were at their peak in recent weeks following Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to the Kingdom in March.

The expected visit of the top dignitary, which has now been delayed, possesses vital importance to Pakistan eyeing big investment from Saudi Arabia in diverse fields.

It would also materialise the understanding between both countries in Makkah for attracting Saudi investments worth USD 5 billion in Pakistan in the coming days.

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It would be the first visit of Mohammad Bin Salman to Pakistan in five years as he last visited the country in February 2019 during the rule of former prime minister Imran Khan.

He was due to visit Pakistan in 2022 as part of his visit to the region but the visit was called off at the 11th hour.

The visit will see the third in-person meeting between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in a period spanning five weeks.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong trade, defence, and cultural ties. The Kingdom is home to over 2.7 million Pakistani expatriates and serves as a top source of remittances to the cash-strapped country. PTI PY PY PY

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