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PM Abbasi, COAS meet Saudi king, attend war games

Updated April 17, 2018

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RIYADH: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi shakes hands with King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday. Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Minister for Defence Khurram Dastagir are also seen.—PPI
RIYADH: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi shakes hands with King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday. Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Minister for Defence Khurram Dastagir are also seen.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday left Saudi Arabia after attending the concluding ceremony of Joint Gulf Shield-1 military drill.

He was expected to reach Islamabad in the early hours of Tuesday morning. During his two-day stay in the Kingdom, Mr Abbasi was accompanied by Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.

Besides attending the concluding ceremony in the Kingdom’s eastern city of Jubail, the prime minister and his entourage on the second day of their trip met King Salman bin Abdulaziz. There was a brief interaction with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as well.

The concluding ceremony was attended by leaders of the participating countries.

Twenty-four countries participated in the Gulf Shield-1 military exercise, which continued for nearly a month. Besides hosts Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the other countries that took part in the exercise were the US, the UK, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Mauritania, Malaysia, Chad, Djibouti, Niger, Comoros, Afghanistan, Oman, Guyana, Turkey, and Burkina Faso.

FO says PM will lead Pakistan delegation to 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London

Troops from the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, and Pakistan Navy participated in the exercise.

The drills are being described as one of the largest military exercises in the region, aimed at “raising level of preparedness; enhancing mutual coordination and cooperation among the participating countries, exchange of expertise and security integration”.

“The drills featured two types of military operations that included conventional military operations represented by coastal defence attacks against the enemy, in addition to the irregular war operations carried out by besieging and penetrating villages and industrial installations so as to cleanse them of hostile elements,” spokesman for Joint Gulf Shield-1 Brig Gen Abdullah Al-Subaie said, according to Arab media.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said that PM Abbasi would lead the Pakistan delegation to the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM-2018), in London from Wednesday to Friday (April 18 to 20). The main theme of this conference is ‘Towards A Common Future’.

APP adds: Pakistan is one of the founding members of the organisation. The current membership of the Commonwealth consists of 53 member states reflecting diversity of all continents of the world. During his stay in London, the prime minister will call on Queen Elizabeth II, Prince of Wales and meet the British leadership.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2018