–PM Khan meets Saudi king Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad, discusses bilateral relationship, regional and global political situation and issues confronting Muslim world
RIYADH/MAKKAH: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reaffirmed their intention to stand by each other at all times, expressing a desire to further enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation, and continue close coordination on issues of mutual interest.
Based on their decades-old fraternal ties, both the countries expressed complete solidarity with each other in their efforts to preserve their sovereignty and territorial integrity, said a statement issued by Foreign Office at the conclusion of two-day state visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistani premier, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Ahmed and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, visited the kingdom at the invitation of the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
PM Khan was received by King Salman at his palace in Jeddah, where he was presented with a guard of honor and a state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relationship, regional and global political situation and the issues confronting the Muslim world.
The prime minister also held a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who hosted a dinner in his honour.
A royal guard of honour, and the Pakistani National Anthem in the power corridors of Saudi Arabia as Prime Minister Imran Khan meets King Salman. A proud moment for every Pakistani. ?? ?? pic.twitter.com/3oWsN1UpHA
— PTI (@PTIofficial) September 19, 2018
The premier was welcomed with a guard of honour at the Saudi king’s palace. A state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage.
During his meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who holds the portfolios of deputy premier and minister of defence, PM Khan held a detailed discussion on ways to strengthen bilateral relationship and on the regional political and security situation. They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural sectors, developing joint ventures in line with their respective developmental needs, strengthening collaboration in human resource sector and addressing the issues faced by Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistani delegation praised the Saudi leadership on a smooth and successful organisation of Hajj this year. They also commended the visionary leadership of the Saudi crown prince which was leading Saudi Arabia towards a modern and developed economy.
PM ACKNOWLEDGES SAUDI HELP IN PAST:
In an interview with the Saudi media, the prime minister reaffirmed Islamabad’s support of Saudi Arabia during his maiden foreign visit to Riyadh as prime minister.
“Anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first,” he said. “Saudi Arabia has in the past helped Pakistan when Pakistan has been in need.”
“Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have a strong people-to-people relationship,” he added.
Answering a question, the premier said that Muslim countries can’t bear to have more conflicts among them as it weakens them as an international community.
“These conflicts are weakening all of us and Pakistan would like to play a role of putting out these fires, a role of reconciliation,” said PM Khan.
PAKISTAN, SAUDI PLEDGE TO STRENGTHEN TIES:
The prime minister briefed the Saudi leadership on Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in its fight against terrorism, highlighting the role of actors trying to destabilise Pakistan. PM Khan strongly rejected the efforts to promote religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.
The Saudi leadership apprised the premier of the steps taken by the kingdom to curb extremism and terrorism, and shared views on the forces spreading extremist ideologies in the region. The two countries acknowledged each other’s efforts and sacrifices and pledged to continue their partnership to defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism. They agreed on the need to promote peace and security to ensure progress, development and prosperity. In this regard, they also agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, as well as their collaboration at the regional and multilateral forums.
The prime minister informed the Saudi leadership about the plight of the Muslims of Indian occupied Kashmir, suffering grievous human rights violations. Mentioning the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed the need for Islamic solidarity and unity in raising the issue forcefully at the UN Human Rights Council.
PM Khan invited the Saudi king and crown prince to visit Pakistan at an early date. The offer was graciously accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership.
Earlier, Imran met with the Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef Al-Othaimeen.
The premier later reached Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was warmly received by Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Presidential Apron, Abu Dhabi Airport.
PM PERFORMS UMRAH:
The premier performed Umrah in the wee hours of Wednesday at the Masjid-al-Haram and prayed for peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
The doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for the prime minister and members of his delegation in a rare gesture of solidarity and goodwill by the government of Saudi Arabia.
The prime minister along with his delegation got the rare opportunity to pray inside the centuries-old large stone building draped in black silk, with Quranic inscriptions in gold. It is the holiest of the sites for Muslims, and the faithful from across the world face the Kaaba for prayers five times a day.
The prime minister prayed for Allah’s blessings to help the people of Pakistan in facing the multiple challenges the country was confronting.
Earlier the doors of the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH) were also opened for the Prime Minister and members of his delegation. They offered special prayers at the Riaz-ul-Janna at the Masjid-e-Nabvi.