Saudi prince starts Asia tour with deals to invest $20 bn in Pakistan

Update: February, 18/2019 - 11:00
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan (right) speaks with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Prime Minister House upon his arrival in Islamabad. — AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

ISLAMABAD — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed a raft of investment deals on Sunday worth up to US$20 billion for the cash-strapped South Asian country, as Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman launched his Asia tour seeking to emerge from the Khashoggi affair.

Pakistan is facing a serious balance of payments crisis and hopes the deals -- seven separate agreements and Memorandums of Understanding -- will provide welcome relief to its teetering economy.

The crown prince, widely known as "MBS", is staging the high-profile three-country visit five months after he came under intense pressure following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He got a warm welcome in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked longtime ally Saudi Arabia for its support, adding: "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are now taking this relationship to a level which (they) never had before."

Khan has already visited Saudi Arabia twice since coming to power last summer.

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. — AFP