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Monday June 24, 2024

MBS visit to Pakistan: Riyadh, Islamabad 'continue consultations' to decide schedule

Sources say Deputy PM Ishaq Dar in contact with Saudi officials regarding crown prince's visit

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
May 11, 2024
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) hosts an Iftar at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah for PM Shehbaz Sharif and the Crown Prince of Bahrain on April 7, 2024. — X/@Saudi_Gazette
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) hosts an Iftar at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah for PM Shehbaz Sharif and the Crown Prince of Bahrain on April 7, 2024. — X/@Saudi_Gazette

Foreign ministries in both Islamabad and Riyadh are holding consultations regarding the dates of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's visit to Pakistan, sources told Geo News on Saturday.

According to the sources, the final date for his visit to Islamabad has not been decided yet.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar is also in contact with the Saudi authorities regarding the high-profile visit.

The sources informed the TV channel about the development after reports regarding the delay in MBS’s visit.

Prior to that, the sources had indicated that MBS would arrive in Islamabad on May 19 for two days. However, no schedule was cited regarding his visit.

Commenting on the visit of the Saudi crown prince, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch, on Friday, clarified that details regarding 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 it would surely be very valuable as the people of Pakistan are anxiously waiting for the leader from the brotherly country.

The development comes days after Geo News reported about the crown prince's potential visit to Islamabad, as he was expected to arrive between May 10 to 15.

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

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

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

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