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Bin Salman first made a bid for the team in October, the Sun said, but the diplomatic row that followed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul "put the skids" on the $4.9 billion offer.

Farman Ali Khan died after heroically saving 14 lives during the 2009 Jeddah floods in Saudi Arabia.

While the crown prince gave no reason for the postponement of his visit to Malaysia, it is unlikely money and investment would have been enough to fix Saudi Arabia's problems with the Southeast Asian nation.

However, Islamabad has also tried to walk a fine line by maintaining warm relations with its neighbour - and Saudi Arabia's regional foe - Iran.

Delhi has vowed to retaliate after a suicide blast which killed 41 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir on Thursday, the deadliest attack in the disputed Himalayan region in decades.

The crown prince has struggled to rehabilitate his global reputation following the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul previous year.

"We've been a brotherly and friendly country to Pakistan, and we've walked together in tough and good times, and we continue the same thing", Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said, reciprocating Khan's sentiments.

The crown prince travels on to India on Tuesday and then to China later in the week.

Islamabad is facing a serious balance of payments crisis and hopes the huge deals signed over the two-day visit - seven separate agreements and memorandums of understanding - will boost its struggling economy.

Pakistani man waits for transportation AFP
Pakistani man waits for transportation in Islamabad during visit of Saudi crown prince

During his two-day stay in Pakistan, the crown prince will hold formal talks with Khan to find ways to enhance bilateral cooperation.

As the guardians of most holy sites in the birthplace of Islam, the Saudi royal family carries vast religious influence in Pakistan, a conservative and mostly Muslim country of 208 million people.

Saudi crown prince was awarded a grand welcome as he arrived in Islamabad.

United chiefs have been doing business in Saudi Arabia with rumours that the royal family is planning to make big investment in the club.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, members of prince Salman's delegation, diplomats, senior officers and Cabinet ministers attended the ceremony.

Pakistan enjoys close ties with Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Imran Khan warmly hugged Prince Mohammed bin Salam, who alighted from his plane with broad smile on his face.

But that was unlikely after the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group's planned meetings with Khan and USA officials in Islamabad were called off.

Prince Mohammed was also set to meet representatives of the Afghan Taliban militant group to discuss peace negotiations to end the 17-year civil war in Afghanistan, Pakistani government and militant sources said.


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