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February 13, 2019

Some facts about: Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman

National

February 13, 2019

LAHORE: Due to set foot on the Pakistani soil in a few days time from now, the 33-year old Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, colloquially known as MbS, is the eldest son of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Fahdah bint Falah bin Sultan, the Saudi Arabian monarch’s third wife.

A December 14, 2017 report of the “Al-Jazeera” Television had added: “Princess Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan bin Hathleen is from the Ajman tribe, whose leader is the princess' grandfather, Rakan bin Hathleen. In 2008, bin Salman married Princess Sarah bint Mashhoor bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and together they had three children. He received his primary education in Riyadh, the country's capital, where he was ranked among the kingdom's top 10 students.”

The Qatari media house had maintained: “After graduation, bin Salman established a number of firms before he became involved in governmental work. He served as secretary-general of the Riyadh Competitive Council, special adviser to the chairman of the board for the King Abdulaziz Foundation, and member of the board of trustees for the Albir Society for development. “

The “Al-Jazeera” had gone on to mention: “As part of his philanthropic work, he also established the MiSK Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works on cultivating learning and leadership among Saudi youth and develops startups in the country through various business incubation programmes. In 2013, he was awarded the "Personality of the Year" award by Forbes Middle East for his role as chairman of the MiSK Foundation in recognition of his support for Saudi youth and their development.”

According to the October 22, 2018 edition of the “BBC News,” Mohammed bin Salman had entered politics at the age of 24 in December 2009, when he appointed special advisor to his father, who was Governor of Riyadh Province at the time.

He was appointed Crown Prince on June 21, 2017, following his father's decision to depose his nephew, Muhammad bin Nayef.

On the day he became the Crown Prince, Salman had received a phone call from the American President, Donald Trump, who had congratulated him on his elevation.

The Doha-based “Al-Jazeera” had stated: “The youngest defence minister in the world and the first in line to the throne, 32-year-old Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is also the kingdom's deputy Prime Minister. The prince is seen as pragmatic on domestic issues and keen on aggressively countering Iran.

According to the May 17, 2018 edition of the “Business Insider,” an American financial and business news website operating in the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, South Africa, India, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nordics, Poland, Spain and Singapore etc, King Salman is worth US$17 billion or Pakistani Rs 2,380 billion.

The “Business Insider” had further held: “The source of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s wealth comes from his family's ownership of a media group that includes the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Eqtisadiah.”

In November 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered a sprawling crackdown on corruption, having recovered more than $106 billion through settlements with scores of senior princes, ministers and top businessmen.

On January 31, 2019, the Saudi Royal court statement said the government had summoned 381 people, some as witnesses, under the campaign launched in November 2017, but it provided no names.

It said 87 people confessed to charges against them and reached secret settlements that included the forfeiture of real estate, companies, cash and other assets.

During the 15-month long anti-graft campaign, Prince Salman had forced the country's richest people to turn over their fortunes to the state, including many of his own relatives.

(References: The Washington Post, the Times of Israel, BBC News, Bloomberg, Irish Times and the CNBC)

Some globally and locally praised social reforms initiated by Prince Muhammad bin Salman: Known for his liberal stance on economic and social issues, Salman has led several successful reforms, which include regulations restricting the powers of the religious police, the lifting of the ban on female drivers, the holding of the first-ever Saudi public concerts by a female singer, the opening of the first Saudi sports stadium to admit women, an increased presence of women in the workforce, permission for Saudi women to open their own business without a male’s consent, the authorization for Saudi mothers to retain immediate custody of their children after divorce without having to file any lawsuits, the opening of the first public cinema in Saudi Arabia after a ban of 35 years and plans to have more than 2,000 screens running by the year 2030 and the announcement of a project to build one of the world's largest cultural, sports and entertainment cities in Al Qidiya, southwest of Riyadh, on an area measuring 334-square kilometres and the introduction of an e-visa system for international tourists.

In February 2017, Saudi Arabia had appointed its first woman to head the Saudi Stock Exchange too.

(References: The Reuters news agency, the Independent, the Saudi Gazette, the CNN, the CNBC, the Guardian, the Economist and the Times of India etc)

Another “Al-Jazeera” Television report had stated: “Prince Mohammed also plans to sell about 5 percent of Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company. The IPO is expected to raise as much as $100bn, but investors wonder whether Aramco can be valued anywhere close to the $2 trillion figure announced by the crown prince. He also announced a $500bn plan to create a business and industrial zone extending across its borders into Jordan and Egypt. The 26,500 square-km zones, known as NEOM, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment, and will power itself solely with wind power and solar energy.”

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