ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will be meeting custodian of the two Holy Mosques Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on Monday in Jeddah as he will be leaving for the Holy Land tomorrow (Sunday) morning.
It will be his first ever meeting with any head of the state/government after assuming the incumbent office less than a month ago. The scheduled meeting is believed to be having significance in the wake of the regional situation and developments taking place in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia that has been throughout taking keen interest in the wellbeing of Pakistan has tremendous clout that could have effect in the domestic as well international issues of Pakistan’s interest.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Pakistan Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim bin Saleh Al-Ghadeer told The News from Riyadh that the meeting between the King and visiting prime minister has been planned for Monday and Prime Minister Raja will perform Umrah on Sunday. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is proceeding with his family in a small planeand federal minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah is the only minister, accompanying him in the sojourn. Prime Minister Raja’s delegation for the visit of Saudi Arabia is viewed as the smallest one in the recent history.
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told this scribe that Saudi Arabia had always been forthcoming about assisting Pakistan in overcoming its economic difficulties, and the possibility cannot be ruled out that Saudi Royal administration generously help Pakistan in surmounting its balance deficit for the fiscal year. Pakistan is also facing difficulties in receiving supply of the petroleum products, especially the oil, because of the restrictions placed on Iran due to its nuclear programme as Pakistan is constrained to halt the supplies from Iran. Islamabad is looking towards Riyadh for making up the shortage due to the restrictions on Iran, the sources said.
The sources revealed that Pakistan has decided to gift huge piece of land in the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad for the construction of residential complex for the Saudi diplomats, posted in the federal capital of Pakistan. The proper documentation is being carried out, and the Saudi authorities are being informed about the decision. The decision has been taken just before the maiden visit of Prime Minister Raja to the Kingdom.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will also brief the King about the recent happenings in the region, especially Pakistan’s decision to restore ground lines of communication (G-LOC) over soil of Pakistan for the NATO/US troops, combating in Afghanistan and its ties with the United States and countries of the region.
Pakistan’s different political leaders maintain their association with Saudi high ups, and Prime Minister Raja will also put across the account of the political situation prevailing back in the country as King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz keeps himself aware of the developments in Pakistan being a true friend and brother. About two million Pakistani nationals are working in Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister is expected to have meeting with his fellow citizens in any of the cities to be visited by him.
The meeting between the King and the prime minister is likely to take place in Kasar-e-Ziafa, situated on the coast of Red Sea in the suburb of Jeddah. The prime minister will also visit to Madina Munawara before returning home. He will offer Salam at the Roza-e-Rasool (Peace be upon Him) besides offering Nawafal at the Masjid-e-Nabvi. The visit will provide the prime minister opportunity to offer special prayers for the country and its people at the holiest places of Islam.
The sources said that Saudi Ambassador Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer has been working to make the trip of the Prime Minister a success, and he has been attending high level consultations with regard to the visit of Prime Minister Raja since early this week in Saudi capital. Ambassador Dr Abdul Aziz Al-Ghadeer has been working day and night to improve and strengthen the relations of the two countries ever since he has assumed the ambassadorial assignment in Islamabad three years ago. He will also present at the Jeddah airport to receive Prime Minister Raja tomorrow and accompany him during the visit.Pakistan’s ambassador in Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan is also reaching Jeddah tomorrow, the sources said.