Feb 18, 2019 07:04 Asia/Tehran

Saudi Crown Prince began his four-day regional visit, arriving in Pakistan amid widespread protests.

Iran Press/Asia: Amid heightened security and arrangements in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrived at Nur Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

In a break from protocol, Prime Minister Khan personally drove the Saudi crown prince to PM House, where a welcome ceremony was held, Associated Press reported.

Shortly after his arrival, Prince Mohammad, accompanied by a high-powered delegation including leading businessmen and Cabinet ministers, attended a signing ceremony for the investment agreements worth $20 billion.

“This is first phase,” he said, at the ceremony, adding that he hoped the future would bring even more Saudi investment in Pakistan.

Pakistan is in the grip of a major debt crisis and is seeking a $12 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund but has yet to sign the deal which comes with tough conditions.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) greets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his arrival at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Nur Khan Base in Rawalpindi, Pakistan February 17/Reuters

Saudi Arabia will invest in the energy sector across the country, including setting up an oil refinery in the southwest near the border with Iran.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan took place amid widespread protests against him.

Demonstrators said bin Salman has been behind the killing of thousands of innocent people, including the people of Yemen.

Bin Salman will later travel to neighboring India amid heightened tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week’s attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

New Delhi accused Islamabad of harboring militants behind Thursday’s attack, which was the deadliest bombing in three decades of bloodshed in Indian-controlled Kashmir. India says it has incontrovertible evidence of Pakistan’s involvement, a charge Islamabad dismisses. 101/202/213


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