PM, Saudi prince ‘talk shop’ in Jeddah

Published May 1, 2022
PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman walk and talk after the latter welcomed the Pakistani delegation at the Royal Palace in Jeddah, on Saturday.—AFP
PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman walk and talk after the latter welcomed the Pakistani delegation at the Royal Palace in Jeddah, on Saturday.—AFP

RIYADH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on Saturday and discussed ways to strengthen economic, investment and trade ties between the two countries.

During the meeting at the Royal Palace, the two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on issues of mutual interest, along with global and regional issues.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, upon arrival at the Royal Palace, the prime minister and his delegation received a guard of honour.

The premier was in Saudi Arabia on a three-day visit — his first since he assumed office — along with a delegation including Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Miftah Ismail, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khawaja Asif, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mohsin Dawar and Maulana Tahir Ashrafi.

Shehbaz arrives in UAE after three-day trip to Saudi Arabia

In a tweet, PM Shehbaz thanked the Saudi prince for “a warm welcome and for always standing with Pakistan” and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to taking bilateral ties “to a new and higher level”.

PM performs Umrah

The premier performed Umrah with his delegation and prayed for the security of the country, nation and Muslim Ummah and for the development and prosperity of Pakistan, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister Office.

The prime minister landed in the holy city of Madina on Thursday, where he visited Masjid-i-Nabwi and offered his prayers. After spending two days in Madina and Jeddah, he arrived in Makkah on Saturday.

During his visit to the holy mosque, the doors of the sacred Kaaba were opened exclusively for PM Sharif and the federal ministers.

Meeting with OIC head

Separately, Prime Minister Sharif also met the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, in Makkah on Saturday.

During the meeting, the premier affirmed his government’s commitment to promoting the interests of the Muslim Ummah as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, a statement by Prime Minister Office said.

The prime minister thanked Mr Taha for consistent and unequivocal support from the OIC to the Kashmir cause.

He urged the organisation to lead the diplomatic endeavours towards facilitating a peaceful and lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Mr Sharif said that as the chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, Pakistan looked forward to playing a proactive role in matters of interest and concern to the OIC member states.

He also urged the OIC to launch a concerted effort to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and other occupied Palestinian territories.

He stressed that Israel must not be allowed to divide the blessed mosque, temporally and spatially, between the peoples of different faiths.

The prime minister maintained that Pakistan, as the current Chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, was looking forward to playing a proactive role with regard to the matters of interest and concern to the OIC member states.

The prime minister underscored the need for the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and emphasised that the OIC should step up its efforts to counter growing Islamophobia at the international level.

The OIC secretary general accepted Mr Sharif’s invitation to pay a visit to Pakistan.

Shehbaz heads to UAE

After wrapping up his trip to Saudi Arabia, the premier headed to the United Arab Emirates later on Saturday, where he met Deputy Supreme Comm­ander of UAE Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Earlier, PM Office said in a statement that both sides would discuss bilateral ties and other issues of mutual interest.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2022

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