Saudi Crown Prince postpones Pak visit again

Wednesday 15th May 2024 07:08 EDT

Islamabad: Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MbS) has postponed his long-awaited visit to Pakistan yet again, with sources suggesting that the decision was made due to incessant political, social, financial, and administrative crises in the cash-starved country. The crown prince’s visit was expected before or after his scheduled trip to Japan from May 20 to 23.
While authorities have kept silent over the postponement, the sources said MbS was upset with the political developments in Pakistan, particularly with statements of some politicians trying to drag Saudi Arabia into the country’s internal matters.
“It appears the feedback of Saudi high-ups, who had made visits to Pakistan in recent weeks, has played a key part in cancellation of the visit. The Saudi ministers, seemingly, have convinced the crown prince that political situation in Pakistan is not stable, tensions run high between the military and jailed ex-PM Imran Khan-led PTI, and it would be unwise for him to visit the country in the current situation,” said Shehbaz Gill, a PTI functionary and Imran’s former principal staff officer.

Last month, PTI functionary Sher Afzal Marwat had alleged that Saudi Arabia was a “conduit” in the US-led operation to oust Imran’s govt in April 2022. Following his claim, PTI removed him from its core and political committee, also issuing a show-cause for trying to harm relations with Saudi Arabia. Recently, Marwat blamed the “Saudi influence” for his party dropping his name for chairmanship of public accounts committee (PAC) of parliament.

MbS had earlier cancelled his visit to Pakistan in Nov 2022. He had last visited Pakistan in Feb 2019 when Imran Khan was PM.

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