President Arif Alvi on Monday conferred Pakistan's highest civil award — Nishan-e-Pakistan — on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during a ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad.
According to the citation provided at the President House, Mohammad bin Salman was honoured due to his "outstanding support for reinvigorating Pak-Saudi bilateral relationship".
"It is privilege for me to host this banquet," President Alvi said after presenting the award to the Saudi crown prince. "Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been indispensable partners for a very long time. We have been together for centuries. Our friendship is bound in religion and culture.
"Even though there is geographical distance between us but we are very close in our hearts. The recent visit of the prime minister and your visit has cemented the friendship between us."
The president congratulated the Saudi crown prince on his "modernisation efforts" as well as measures taken to highlight Saudi Arabia's previously "hidden" tourism sites.
"Pakistan, too, is a beautiful country," the president said. "It's at the crossroads. There is a huge change. It is a golden era for Pakistan also. It is open for investment. We have fought terrorism very bravely. We are on the cusp of an era where there could be an increase in prosperity for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia."
Following the president's speech, the Saudi crown prince addressed the audience. "I was honoured to meet the president of Pakistan. I thank you for honouring me with Pakistan's highest award.
"The brotherly relationship between the kingdom and Pakistan focus on the principle of Islamic solidarity. It is a model to be emulated by other nations. Our [countries' relationship] go back 67 years that witnessed continuous development that rendered itself beneficial for both countries.
"The founding fathers for both countries established these relations on the principles of truthfulness, common understanding and mutual respect that go back to the first days of the establishment of Pakistan, post-World War 2.
"Our Pakistani brothers participated truthfully and effectively in the great development project that Saudi Arabia witnessed, especially the enlargement project of Masjid-e-Haram and Masjid-e-Nabwi. More than 2 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia and are contributing to the development of both the countries.
"I wish all the best to the president and the prime minister in the service of this country and its people."
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser and various other leaders were in attendance.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Saudi crown prince said his goodbyes to the president and members of the federal cabinet before leaving for Nur Khan Airbase. As was the case when he had arrived, the prime minister personally drove the car carrying the Saudi crown prince.
MBS, PM Khan take chariot to President House
Earlier, the Saudi crown prince and Prime Minister Imran Khan had arrived at the President House in a traditional chariot.
The two leaders were escorted by the presidential guard on their way from the PM House to the President House.
President Alvi received the Saudi crown prince upon his arrival at the President House. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry were also present when the Saudi crown prince and the prime minister arrived at the President House.
Sanjrani-led delegation of lawmakers call upon Saudi crown prince
An assortment of lawmakers under Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani's leadership called upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Monday at the PM House, according to a press release issued by Senate Secretariat.
Sanjrani hailed the crown prince's plan to make a multi-billion-dollar investment in Pakistan, and termed it "a reflection of the international community's faith in Pakistan".
"In addition to mutual assistance and partnership, these investments will also pave way for regional development," the Senate chairman said. "Saudi Arabia's Vision 2020 is the vision of peace, economic growth and prosperity. This visit [of the crown prince] will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the two countries' relations."
Sanjrani hailed the timing of Saudi Arabia's decision to invest in the country, noting that "the situation has changed in Pakistan. The atmosphere for investment and trade is extremely conducive now."
The Senate chair acknowledged the kingdom's "time-tested friendship", adding that the Arab country "has always helped Pakistan in trying times".
Sanjrani said that "both the countries share the same point of view on various political and security issues" and "are in agreement at a multitude of fora".
The chairman of the upper house of the parliament suggested that further efforts be made to boost bilateral trade, make the joint business council active and increase participation in business exhibitions.
During the meeting, Sanjrani also mentioned the Pakistani community based in Saudi Arabia, and credited them for acting as a "bridge between the two nations".
Sanjrani was accompanied by senators Azam Swati, Mushahidullah Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq, Shibli Faraz as well as NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.
The Saudi crown prince had arrived in Pakistan on Sunday amid heightened security and arrangements in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.