Saudi crown prince orders release of Pakistani pilgrims arrested for sloganeering at Masjid-i-Nabwi

Published October 26, 2022
<p>Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif is received by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. — Photo courtesy: PMO</p>

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif is received by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. — Photo courtesy: PMO

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Wednesday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman had ordered the release of Pakistani pilgrims who were arrested and detained for sloganeering and hounding a PM-led delegation at Masjid-i-Nabwi in Madina this April.

PM Shehbaz, who will be concluding a two-day trip to Saudi capital Riyadh today, thanked the crown prince in a tweet for ordering the release.

“I am deeply grateful to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mr Muhammad bin Salman, who, on my request, ordered the release of the Pakistanis arrested in Saudi Arabia for the April 2022 incident.

We pray to Allah Almighty to make us better Muslims who forgive each other’s mistakes,“ he said.

In April, PM Shehbaz, along with a delegation comprising federal ministers and others, had gone on a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia. On their visit to Masjid-i-Nabwi during the trip, some Pakistani pilgrims had hounded them, shouted slogans against them and even physically attacked some members of the delegation.

Videos of the incident had gone viral on social media, prompting swift action from Saudi authorities and leading to the arrest of some of the pilgrims.

PMs agree to take fraternal bonds to ‘new heights’

Earlier, PM Shehbaz and Crown Prince Salman, who was named the kingdom’s prime minister last month, agreed to upgrade and enhance bilateral ties and fraternal bonds between the two countries to “new heights”.

The two held a bilateral meeting in Riyadh during which they reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, Radio Pakistan reported on Wednesday.

Taking to Twitter, PM Shehbaz described the meeting as “excellent”.

“We agreed to upgrade and enhance bilateral ties and fraternal bonds between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to new heights in line with the requirements of [the] changing world. I told [the crown prince] people of Pakistan are eagerly looking forward to his visit,” he said.

According to Radio Pakistan, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the fraternal bond between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The premier thanked the Saudi leadership for extending assistance to Pakistan during the recent devastating floods, particularly for establishing the air bridge between Riyadh and Islamabad to provide relief goods in flood-affected areas, the report said.

For his part, the Saudi crown prince termed the fraternal ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia very important for the two countries as well as for the region and the world, the report added.

The premier and his accompanying delegation also performed Umrah at Makkah’s Grand Mosque. PM Shehbaz “prayed for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan as well as Muslim ummah,” state broadcaster Radio Pakistan said.

He later departed for Pakistan after completing his trip.

PM Shehbaz landed in Riyadh on Monday where he was received by Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud at the airport. The premier is accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and other officials.

He also addressed the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh on Monday, saying that Pakistan was “ripe for market innovation” and the country was ready to reach out to potential investors for the future of its upcoming generations.

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