Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will pay an official visit to Riyadh today at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
“During his stay in Riyadh, the Prime Minister will hold consultations with the Saudi Crown Prince to review the longstanding fraternal relations, with a view to further strengthening the multifaceted cooperation, especially in the economic field,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The prime minister will also attend the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Summit.
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Hundreds of delegates from around the world including government officials, business leaders and even CEOs of American companies are attending the two-day Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh. The conference will kick off on Tuesday.
Official sources confirmed that Prime Minister Shehbaz is visiting Saudi Arabia on the invitation of Saudi crown prince. He will attend the two-day conference and is scheduled to meet the Saudi leadership.
The Davos in the desert is taking place at a time when Saudi Arabia and the US clashed over Riyadh’s move to cut oil supplies despite request by President Biden to the contrary. The US officials were not invited to the investment summit, according to the organisers. However, 400 CEOs from different American companies will be in attendance. A strong Chinese delegation will be in Riyadh highlighting Saudi Arabia’s push to diversify its options and look beyond the West.
Pakistan considers the conference as an opportunity to draw world’s attention towards the climate-induced floods.
Shehbaz is visiting Saudi Arabia as the Saudi crown prince is also planning to visit Pakistan next month. Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman is expected to travel to Islamabad next month on a crucial visit Pakistan is hoping will lead to yet another financial bailout package from the oil-rich Arab nation.
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Though officials are tightlipped and not sharing details of the visit, sources confirmed to The Express Tribune that the two countries were in touch to prepare for the visit. Foreign office did not respond when asked to confirm the visit.
There are reports that the Saudi crown prince may make a stopover in India on his way to Indonesia in mid-November, to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit is expected to last a few hours on November 14, and both leaders are expected to depart for Bali to attend the G-20 summit there on November 15-16, according to Indian media.
While MBS is keen to travel to Islamabad, there are concerns that the visit may be delayed or put on hold if Imran Khan decided to launch the much-anticipated long march against the government.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif invited the Saudi de facto ruler on a visit to Pakistan when he visited Saudi Arabia in July.
The visit comes at a time when the coalition government led by Shehbaz is facing an imminent long march of former prime minister Imran Khan and when Saudi Arabia is involved in a diplomatic row with the United States over the recent cut in oil supplies by major exporting countries.
Pakistan in a surprise and the significant move took a public stance on the US-Saudi row and backed Riyadh’s position.