ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be the first state guest to stay at the official residence of the prime minister of Pakistan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Arab News on Wednesday.
The crown prince is due to arrive in Islamabad for a two-day visit on the afternoon of Feb. 16. He is expected to sign agreements worth up to $15 billion, including for three power plants in Pakistan’s Punjab province and an oil refinery and petrochemical complex to be set up in the coastal city of Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan.
Chaudhry said the crown prince would arrive in Islamabad on Saturday and stay overnight at Prime Minister House.
Outlining the prince’s agenda, the information minister said he would attend a reception at the presidential palace on Saturday evening.
“A reception will be hosted in his honor at the president’s house and will be attended by the (Pakistani) prime minister, army chief, all top ministers, bureaucrats and important personalities in the country as well as members of the royal entourage,” Chaudhry said.
On Sunday, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the crown prince will co-chair meetings of joint working groups including on trade and investment, energy, science, culture and information and media.
The Foreign Ministry said the crown prince would call on the president of Pakistan, the prime minister and the army chief separately.
The statement added that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would sign agreements during the crown prince’s visit, including in the fields of investment, finance, power, internal security, media and culture.
“The two countries will also discuss ways and means to develop a robust follow-up mechanism to ensure effective implementation and quick progress on tangible areas of cooperation,” the statement said.
The crown prince will leave Pakistan on Feb. 17 and head to India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Responding to a question about reports that the crown prince would address a joint session of Parliament, Chaudhry said: “That is highly unlikely.”
Giving details of security arrangements for the visit, the information minister said the crown prince’s own security team would guard Prime Minister House during his stay there, but that Pakistani security officials would also be on duty.
Chaudhry said Islamabad would be on high security throughout the crown prince’s visit, and the Pakistan army and paramilitary Rangers would be in charge of keeping the capital safe.
Saudi security and intelligence officials are also expected to be present not just at Prime Minister House, but across Islamabad during the two days the crown prince is there.
As of Monday night, 350 people in the crown prince’s advance media and security team had already arrived in Islamabad and another 800 were expected in the next few days, Chaudhry said.
Vehicles to be used by the crown prince would arrive via a special flight on Friday, while the cars and security equipment of his entourage would also be shipped in. At least 80 containers of luggage and other paraphernalia are expected to arrive in Islamabad to cater to the needs of the royal entourage.
Saudi ministers accompanying the crown prince are also expected to hold meetings with their counterparts “to discuss bilateral cooperation in their respective fields,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Wednesday, adding that businessmen from the two countries would also meet to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the private sector.
“A delegation of Pakistan’s Senate will also call on the crown prince to discuss ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries,” the statement said.