ISLAMABAD: Reaffirming their intention to stand by each other at all times, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have pledged to continue their decades-old partnership to defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism.
The two countries reiterated the pledge during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meetings with Saudi leadership in Jeddah on Wednesday.
The PM called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and extended an invitation to the Saudi leadership to visit Pakistan at an early date. “The offer was graciously accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Saudi King, Crown Prince accept PM Imran’s invitation to visit Pakistan
Acknowledging each other’s efforts and sacrifices, the two sides agreed on the need to promote peace and security to ensure progress, development and prosperity.
As the PM briefed the Saudi leadership about Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in its fight against terrorism and highlighted the role of “actors trying to destabilise Pakistan”, the latter apprised the former of the steps taken by the Kingdom to curb extremism and terrorism and shared views “on the forces spreading extremist ideologies in the region”.
Mr Khan strongly condemned the efforts to promote religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.
Both the countries expressed complete solidarity with each other in their “efforts at preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The two sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as their collaboration at the regional and multilateral forums to promote peace and security.
Guard of honour
It was the prime minister’s first foreign visit after assuming office. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood.
He was received by King Salman at his palace in Jeddah, where Mr Khan was presented with a guard of honour and a state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage.
In the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relationship, the regional and global political situation and the issues confronting Muslim Ummah, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
They expressed their desire to further enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation and to continue close coordination on issues of mutual interest.
Crown Prince hosts dinner for Imran
During the visit, the PM also held a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, who hosted a dinner in his honour.
The two leaders accompanied by their ministers and senior officials, held detailed discussions 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 Saudi leadership congratulated Pakistan on its successful democratic transition, in a peaceful and fair manner and felicitated Mr Khan on his election as the PM.
Appreciating the PM’s idea of transforming his country into a welfare state based on Islamic socio-economic principles, the Saudi leadership assured Pakistan of its maximum assistance.
Pakistan thanked Saudi Arabia for its steadfast and continued support.
Plight of Kashmiris discussed
The PM informed the Saudi leadership about the plight of the Muslims of India-held 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 held Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed the need for Islamic solidarity and unity in raising the issue forcefully at the UN Human Rights Council.
The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the just struggle of the Palestinian people to restore their rights and achieve the independence of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
They also stressed that the international community must respect the just struggle of the people living under foreign occupation and the legitimate right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
With a view to developing tangible and meaningful bilateral cooperation in key areas, the two countries agreed to intensify consultations and coordination in order to strengthen their strategic partnership.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their historical and brotherly ties, rooted in bonds of common religion, shared culture and values and quest for regional and global peace and security.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the convergence of views on a host of regional and global issues, as well as the issues faced by Muslim Ummah.
They reaffirmed their intention to stand by each other at all times.
Pakistan praised the Saudi leadership on a smooth and successful organisation of Haj this year and acknowledged the eminent position of respect and reverence among the Muslim Ummah enjoyed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
It also commended the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
Meanwhile, the prime minister also addressed the Pakistani community in Jeddah in which he assured them the government would constitute the ministry of overseas Pakistanis so that it could become helpful for the expats as well as the investors.
The PM and his delegation later arrived in Abu Dhabi from Saudi Arabia.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018