ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman skipped the expected stopover in Islamabad, leaving Pakistani officialdom disappointed, as he concluded his three-day visit to India on Monday after attending the G-20 summit and holding bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources maintained that though the Saudi Crown Prince’s brief visit was not scheduled, yet Pakistan was expecting the Kingdom’s de facto ruler to make a stopover in Islamabad like he had done in February 2019 before proceeding to New Delhi.
There was intense speculation that Mohammad bin Salman, who is also the Saudi Prime Minister, will arrive for a brief stopover before or after his trip to India to attend the G-20 summit.
On Friday last, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, while responding to a question during her weekly media briefing, expressed her inability to confirm whether the Saudi Crown Prince will visit Pakistan or not on his way to India.
“As far as any high-level visit from the region is concerned, we are not in a position to make any announcement at this stage. Once such a visit is confirmed we will make the announcement,” she said in response to a question.
However, sources within the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) maintained that authorities were keen that the Saudi Crown Prince undertakes the visit to signal support of the current dispensation in Islamabad.