ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have reaffirmed the resolve to enrich their deep and multifaceted relationship as Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded his two-day official visit to the kingdom on Friday before heading to the United States to attend the UN General Assembly session from Sept 21 to 27.
During his separate meetings with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Makkah, the prime minister strongly condemned the recent attacks on oil installations in Abqaiq and Khurais and assured them of Pakistan’s commitment against any threat to Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial integrity.
Highlighting the dire human rights situation in India-held Jammu and Kashmir and the grave risks posed to peace and security by India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, Mr Khan called for urgent lifting of curfew in the valley and resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.
Expresses gratitude for Pakistan’s inclusion in Road-to-Makkah project, completes visit to kingdom before proceeding to New York
He also laid emphasis on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s pivotal role in extending consistent support for the Kashmir cause.
The Saudi leadership expressed concern over the Kashmir situation and reiterated its steadfast support and solidarity for the Kashmir cause. It was agreed to continue to work together for peace, security and peaceful resolution of issues.
Prime Minister Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and other senior officials during his visit.
Extending a warm welcome to the prime minister, the Saudi leadership underscored that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was based on “real brotherhood”.
On the bilateral relations, Mr Khan recalled the visit of the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan in February and noted that it had imparted a strong momentum to the growth trajectory of the relationship. The two sides reiterated the resolve to intensify bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people contact. Mr Khan also expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s inclusion in the Road-to-Makkah project and hoped for its extension to other major cities of the country.
This was his fourth visit to Saudi Arabia over the past 13 months. During his last visit to the kingdom in May, he attended the 14th session of the OIC Islamic Summit.
PM performs Umrah
Prime Minister Imran Khan along with his wife Bushra Begum performed Umrah and prayed for the prosperity and stability of the country.
The PM also had the rare opportunity of entering the Holy Kaa’ba as the door was specially opened for him.
Later, when Mr Khan left for Madina, he was seen off at the airport by Jeddah Governor Prince Mashaal bin Majid Al Saud.
The prime minister will pay homage at Roza-i-Rasool (peace be upon him) and perform Nawafil at Masjid-i-Nabvi, according to a statement issued by the PM’s media wing.
Saudi Arabia is among the founding members of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. This year the two countries established the Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC), co-chaired by the prime minister and the crown prince. Its next session is due to be held in February 2020.
UN General Assembly session
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan will lead a Pakistani delegation during the week-long session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Foreign Minister Qureshi will also attend the General Assembly session, interact with his counterparts from various countries and address important ministerial meetings, especially the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.
The prime minister will hold several bilateral meetings with his counterparts from various regions and participate in the UN summits on climate change, sustainable development, universal health coverage and financing for development.
Mr Khan will also attend and speak at the side events co-hosted by Pakistan and Turkey on countering hate speech, and on environmental protection and poverty alleviation, co-hosted by Malaysia and Pakistan.
A trilateral summit meeting of Pakistan, Malaysia and Turkey will be held on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
Apart from these engagements, the prime minister will interact with cross-section of international media outlets, including meetings with editorial boards. The prime minister’s speaking engagements at leading think tanks and meetings with heads of major rights organisations are also envisaged.
PM Khan will deliver his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept 27 to share Pakistan’s perspective and position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its current human rights and related dimensions, besides some other key contemporary issues. Overall, the key issue of Jammu and Kashmir would be emphasised through myriad engagements.
Pakistan has always been a strong advocate of and one of the leading contributors to the UN work in the areas of peace, security and development.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019