Pakistan, Saudi Arabia vow to deepen ties

Published March 24, 2024
Presi­dent Asif Ali Zardari meets Saudi defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman at President House on March 23. — PID
Presi­dent Asif Ali Zardari meets Saudi defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman at President House on March 23. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan and Saudi Arabia have reiterated their resolve to work together and further enhance bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

This was discussed at a meeting between Presi­dent Asif Ali Zardari and the visiting Saudi defence minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, who called on Mr Zardari at Aiwan-i-Sadr on Saturday.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir and Saudi Amba­ssador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki also attended the meeting.

The Saudi defence minister later had separate meetings with Prime Minister Sharif and Gen Munir and also attended the Pakistan Day Parade.

While welcoming the visiting dignitary, Presi­dent Zardari said Pakistan accorded utmost importance to its relations with Saudi Arabia as both cou­n­tries enjoyed a fraternal bond marked by shared faith and historical relations.

He underscored the need for further increasing bilateral cooperation in various fields. The president deeply thanked Saudi Arabia for the support provided to Pakistan during challenging times.

He lauded the leadership of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and the vision of Crown Prince Moham­med bin Salman that wo­uld propel Saudi Ara­bia towards remarkable progress.

The Saudi defence minister highlighted that the two nations enjoyed strong historical, strategic and defence cooperation.

He said both countries should work together and support each other to deepen bilateral relations further.

He highlighted that his country believed in regional prosperity and had succeeded in increasing economic integration.

Earlier, during a special investiture ceremony, President Zardari conferred Nishan-i-Pakistan, the country’s highest civilian award, on Prince Khalid in recognition of his meritorious services towards strengthening bilateral cooperation and his contribution towards peace in the region.

Saudi minister meets PM

Prince Khalid later called on Mr Sharif at Prime Minister House and discussed bilateral matters, regional peace and security. Defence Minister Asif and the army chief also attended the meeting.

 Saudi defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman calls on PM Shehbaz Sharif on March 23. — PID
Saudi defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman calls on PM Shehbaz Sharif on March 23. — PID

The premier and the Saudi defence minister exchanged views on increasing cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the defence and security areas.

Prime Minister Sharif congratulated Prince Khalid on receiving Nishan-i-Pakistan and thanked him for attending the Pakistan Day parade as a special guest.

He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had close brotherly ties based on commonalities of religion, history and culture, which were further strengthening with the passage of time.

He recalled that during his previous tenure as prime minister, Saudi Arabia played a critical role in improving Pakistan’s economic situation.

He said people of Pakistan had a special place in their hearts for the Saudi royal family.

While mentioning the Special Investment Facilitation Council, the prime minister said a one-window operation had been created for investors through the establishment of the council, which would facilitate business activities and investment.

He said immense opportunities were present in Pakistan in different fields, including agriculture, information technology and mining.

He underlined the need for further cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the fields of defence and economy.

Mr Sharif reiterated his earlier invitation and said Pakistan was waiting for the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The Saudi defence minister felicitated Prime Minister Sharif on assuming his office and expressed best wishes to him.

He thanked Pakistan for inviting him as a special guest for the Pakistan Day parade and said he had the opportunity to witness the best capabilities of the armed forces of Pakistan during the parade.

He said Gen Munir’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia was important and fruitful in promoting defence relations between the two countries.

Meeting with COAS

On his arrival, the Saudi defence minister received a warm welcome at the Noor Khan Air Base, the ISPR said in a statement.

When he arrived at the parade, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Army Chief Gen Munir welcomed Prince Khalid.

After witnessing the parade, Prince Khalid met the army chief and discussed matters of mutual interest, promoting bilateral relations and increasing cooperation in various fields, especially defence.

“Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have historical and strong brotherly relations and have always been well-wishers of each other,” Prince Khalid noted.

The army chief thanked the Saudi minister for visiting Pakistan. Later, Prince Khalid returned to Saudi Arabia from Noor Khan Air Base and was seen off by Gen Munir.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2024

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