ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is likely to visit Pakistan after Hajj, official sources told The Pakistan Daily on Thursday.
According to sources, the two sides are in touch with each other and barring an exception, it is likely the Saudi de facto ruler will visit Pakistan which would be his second visit in three years.
Earlier, it was reported that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are in talks to finalise the dates for the much-awaited visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Islamabad which was likely to take place in March and the Saudi crown prince will attend the Pakistan Day parade as a guest of honour on March 23 but Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi rejected the reports.
The last time Saudi Crown Prince travelled to Pakistan was in February 2019 just days after the Pulwama attack in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) that brought the two nuclear-armed neighbours to the brink of war.
Prime Minister Imran Khan at that time drove him to his office from the airport suggesting close bonhomie between the two leaders.
Saudi Arabia had extended the financial bailout package to Pakistan after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) formed the government in August 2018 in order to help it deal with the depleting foreign exchange reserves.
But a few months, the relationship between the two countries hit an unusual roadblock after PM Khan joined the Turkish President and the Malaysian Prime Minister at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September 2019.
At one point, the ties were so strained that Pakistan had to return Saudi loans before time.
Riyadh had extended financial help to Pakistan in the past but never asked Islamabad to return the money as it either rolled over the facility or converted it into a grant.
The ice between the two countries finally melted when PM Khan visited Saudi Arabia in October last year.
That visit led to another Saudi bailout package to the tune of $4.2 billion, $3 billion in cash support while the remaining oil facility was on deferred payment.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also cooperated to arrange an extraordinary meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan in Islamabad.
The conference led to the establishment of Trust Fund under the banner of the Islamic Development Bank to help the people of Afghanistan in view of the grave humanitarian situation.