–Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif hold 1.5 hours-long meeting with Mohammed Bin Salman in Jeddah
–Shehbaz says ‘nothing unusual’ about six-day-trip to Saudi Arabia
RIYADH/LAHORE: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Tuesday and discussed with him matters of mutual interest.
According to media reports, the meeting continued for about one and a half hours, in which important issues were discussed. Quoting sources, the reports said the meeting between the Sharifs and the crown prince was successful and would yield positive results.
After the meeting, Nawaz departed for Madina in Salman’s personal plane where he visited the mausoleum of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and then left for Makkah via Jeddah to perform Umrah. He will return to Islamabad on Tuesday night while Shehbaz returned to Lahore earlier in the day.
Putting all rumours regarding his recent visit to Saudi Arabia to rest, Shehbaz Sharif told journalists after arriving in Lahore that there was nothing unusual about the six-day-long trip.
“Saudi Arabia invited me to offer Umrah [pilgrim] and there is nothing unusual about going there on a snap trip,” he said after inspecting facilities in a recently inaugurated kidney transplant centre in the provincial capital.
The Punjab CM, however, added that he will hold a detailed media talk on the Saudi visit soon.
The younger Sharif said that Saudi Arabia was one of the most friendly countries to Pakistan and had always ‘blindly trusted’ the country.
“These are not fake statements or rhetoric but genuine relations [between the two countries],” he added.
“In Pakistan’s 70-year-long history, Saudi Arabia has always sincerely and unconditionally helped and supported us, not only in natural calamities but at diplomatic and international fronts also,” he remarked.
Declaring the Arab country his ‘second home’, the Punjab CM said there was nothing unusual about his sudden trip, where he enjoyed ‘remarkable hospitality’ shown to him by the hosts.
“Have some fear of the Almighty, some say a special plane came and others say it was a private jet,” he remarked in response to a query regarding an NRO-type deal during the trip.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have been criticising the Sharifs’ visit, accusing the government of trying to negotiate a deal to save the Sharif family from accountability.
On Monday, Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said that an agreement might be “cooking” in the country.
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