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March 19, 2019
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I feel at home in Pakistan: Muhammad bin Salman

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said that he feels “at home in Pakistan”.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the conclusion of his two-day official visit of Pakistan, Muhammad bin Salman said that they believe in Pakistan’s future and that it has a huge opportunity.

In 2030, Pakistan will be next to two huge economies. One, China will be the largest economy in 2030, and two, India will be the third-largest economy so Pakistan will definitely benefit from these neighbours, he added.

The Saudi crown Prince said that he had faith in the country’s leadership. “There is great leadership here to put Pakistan in the right position. We can see it happening,” he noted.

“We saw the Pakistani economy grow by 5 per cent in 2018 so we believe that Pakistan has huge potential, it could be one of top 20 economies in the future, easily. If the efforts of the leadership, the people of Pakistan, and their allies come together, definitely it can reach that one day.”

“So because of that, we believe in Pakistan. Because of our long relations […] we want to be part of that journey and we want to risk our money, to risk our efforts, to start from day one,” he explained.

At a the joint press conference prior to Prince Mohammad’s departure, Prime Minister Khan thanked him and expressed his happiness over the royal’s visit.

The prime minister also thanked the crown prince for his announcement to release over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners languishing in Saudi jails with immediate effect.

The Prime Minister said that he wanted to thank you on behalf of the people of Pakistan for announcing the release of Pakistani prisoners. He also thanked the crown prince for the agreements worth $20 billion that had been signed during his visit.

Prime Minister Khan also noted that with the signing of the new agreements, the existing relationship

Addressing the crown prince, Imran Khan said that they wanted him to consider Pakistan his second home. The PM House, where you were staying, rest assured that when you are in Pakistan … [you can] consider it your own house and come and stay there, he told MBS.

“What we did today, it’s the beginning and we hope in the close future we do more and more partnering with Pakistan,” the crown prince concluded.

The two sides also issued a joint statement, in which they reaffirmed “the historic relationship between the two brotherly countries, applauded the growing momentum in bilateral ties in all areas”.

The Saudi side, according to the statement, praised Prime Minister Khan’s dialogue offer to India, including the initiative on the opening of Kartarpur corridor.

“Both sides stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region and to resolve the outstanding issues,” it reads. “Both sides strongly condemned the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world.

“The prime minister briefed the crown prince on the grave human rights violations in IOK and the need for resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.