Saudis say crown prince doesn’t intend to buy Man United

The rupee devaluation produces inflation and tighter interest rates continue to make the industrial output costlier.— AFP  File

Cash-strapped and in need of friends, Pakistan welcomed the crown prince with open arms and in grandiose fashion, including sending fighter jets to guide his incoming plane once it entered Pakistani airspace.

Earlier Sunday, MBS was greeted with a booming 21-gun salute and was warmly embraced by Khan and powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as he stepped onto a red carpet flanked by an honour guard at a military airbase near Islamabad.

He referred to his conversation with the Saudi crown prince as he drove him from the Nur Khan Airbase to the PM House and said Prince Muhammad has a passion for tourism.

Prince Mohammed was also set to meet representatives of the Afghan Taliban militant group to discuss peace negotiations to end the 17-year civil war in Afghanistan, the Pakistani government and militant sources said.

On Monday, Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that the crown prince had ordered the "immediate release" of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails.

The crown prince was due to reach Pakistan on Saturday, but his arrival was delayed for a day.

The two nations' relationship has in the past centred on oil-rich Saudi Arabia backing Pakistan's economy during hard periods, and in return Pakistan's powerful army lending support to Saudi Arabia and its royal family.

Prime Minister Imran Khan referred to the problems of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and requested that their immigration should be done in three big cities in Pakistan.

The Crown Prince, who is on a two-day visit, said on Sunday evening, "Today we signed MoUs".

"I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in (a) bad situation", Khan told the royal guest, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be mutually beneficial for the countries. The refinery once ready will help to save about United States dollars 1.25 billion in imports bills. The investments are related to the country's agriculture and energy sectors, including a $10 billion-worth project of an oil refinery in the southwest of Pakistan.

The crown prince, in response, assured the prime minister that Saudi Arabia will do whatever it can to address these issues.

Banners and posters inscribed with slogans of Pakistan-Saudi friendship and fraternity have also been put on display along the roads.

During their officials talks, the Crown Prince conveyed greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Imran Khan.

A four-tier security arrangements have been made for the prince.

The prince's trip also includes an important economic component.



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