Pakistan throws four-tier security cover to protect Saudi crown prince in Islamabad

The outer most tier will be manned by police, the second by paramilitary Ranger, the third by the army and the fourth and inner most by the royal guards of the prince.

Pakistan throws four-tier security cover to protect Saudi crown prince in Islamabad
Reuters Photo

Islamabad: Pakistan planned elaborate security measures for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's maiden visit to Islamabad on Saturday during which a number of agreements worth billions of dollars investment would be signed between the two countries.

Mohammad, who is also the Gulf Kingdom's vice president of the council of ministers and defence minister, will arrive here on February 16 on his first state visit to Pakistan since his elevation to the position of the crown prince in April 2017, the Foreign Office said.

An interior ministry official told PTI that a four-tier security arrangements have been made for the crown prince, colloquially known as MBS.

The outer most tier will be manned by police, the second by paramilitary Ranger, the third by the army and the fourth and inner most by the royal guards of the prince.

About 10 bullet proof vehicles have already been transported to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia which will be used by the prince and his aides.

Security officials said that Pakistan's airspace will be shut down on his arrival, cellphone services suspended and main routes closed to heavy traffic in Islamabad and Rawalpindi over the weekend.

Additional police and paramilitary Rangers personnel will be deployed at the main entry point to Islamabad while special check points will be set up within the city.

Security in the neighbouring garrison city of Rawalpindi will also be beefed up. Toy drone and similar objects will be banned and destroyed on sight and action will be taken against those using them.

The prince will also use about 130 royal guards. A 235-member delegation of the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), led by Pakistan's former army chief General Raheel Sharif, is in the capital to ensure foolproof security.

Special traffic plan were being put in place to divert vehicles.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are likely to sign over USD 10 billion investment agreements, including a multibillion dollar oil refinery in Gwadar, during his visit.

The prince will be accompanied by a high-powered delegation including members of the royal family, key ministers and leading businessmen.

Official sources said that his entourage includes about 1,000 officials.

During his visit, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will be signing a number of agreements and MoUs in diverse sectors, including investment, finance, power, renewable energy, internal security, media, culture and sports.

The two countries will also discuss ways and means to develop a robust follow-up mechanism to ensure effective implementation and quick progress on tangible areas of cooperation.

The prince will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and call on President Arif Alvi.

The Saudi ministers accompanying the crown prince will meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation in their respective fields.

On the sidelines of the visit, businessmen of the two countries will also meet to discuss opportunities of collaboration in the private sector.

Saudi Arabia has committed USD 6 billion to Pakistan as part of a bailout package to help shore up Islamabad's dwindling foreign currency reserves.