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Saudi Arabia to cooperate with Pakistan on CPEC: envoy

By Sabah
September 11, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Pakistan Admiral (retd) Nawaf Ahmad Al-Maliki has hinted that Saudi Arabia will cooperate with Pakistan in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

He said CPEC is a big project in the region. He said that new avenues of progress will open for Pakistan and the region as a result of this project. Al-Maliki said that Saudi delegations are working on the CPEC project. He said Saudi Arabia will also play its role in the CPEC project. “We think that Pakistan will make progress through this project.” He said that Saudi Arabia wants development and progress in Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with Sabah, Al-Maliki said, “We have formed the Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) for the eradication of terrorism.” He said that General (retd) Raheel Sharif is leading the IMA. He said that the Alliance is not against any country as it has been formed for eradication of terrorism. Al-Maliki said, “We want peaceful Islamic world through this alliance.” He said the IMA will play its role for establishing peace and eradication of terrorism in the Islamic world. He said through this alliance, intelligence sharing will be done between the member countries.

Al-Maliki said that terrorism is a problem of the whole Muslim Ummah adding that “we want to fulfill the dream of making Islamic world peaceful through IMA”. He said Pakistan has rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism. He said that the whole world is acknowledging and appreciating the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war against terrorism. He said Raheel Sharif has been appointed the head of the IMA. He said the appointment of Raheel Sharif reflects how strong relations Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are enjoying.

Al-Maliki said, “We will continue efforts for the eradication of terrorism from the platform of IMA.” In this regard, Raheel Sharif has rendered great services in Pakistan during his tenure, he said. Al-Maliki said, “We will take benefit of experiences of Raheel Sharif.” He said Saudi Arabia wants stable Pakistan. He said that cooperation will be extended in defence, like other fields, between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

He said intelligence will be shared for eradication of terrorism. He said on the Pakistan Day and Independence Day on 23rd March and 14th August,  Saudi military contingents also participated. He said that there are many things common between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He said that there are vast chances of cooperation between the two countries.

“We will soon sign many agreements with Pakistan in the defence field. We are working in this regard.” He said Saudi Arabia is not only working for the provision of assistance in poverty-stricken countries but also wants to start such projects which could help the people to stand on their own feet and poverty should also be eradicated from these countries.

Al-Maliki said he is sending a plan to Saudi government. He said that according to this plan a large number of families of Pakistani armed forces personnel and other martyrs will be sent for offering Umrah on an annual basis in Saudi Arabia. He said the Saudi government will bear all the lodging, boarding and other expenses of these families.

Replying to a question, Al-Maliki said that in the 2005 earthquake in Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa destruction at a vast scale occurred and people were killed. He said that Saudi Arabia cooperated with Pakistan in this difficult situation. He said that Saudi Arabia assisted Pakistan in the reconstruction of houses buildings and roads. He said that Saudi Arabia provided 8000 makeshift houses for the affected areas. He said that Saudi Arabia also provided funds for other 50 projects which include splendid mosques educational institutions hospitals and government buildings.

Al-Maliki said that the provision of funds for the earthquake-hit areas shows that Saudi Arabia is standing with Pakistan in every difficult time. He said Pakistan is brotherly country of Saudi Arabia and it will always stand with Pakistan in the time of need. Al-Maliki said it is their resolve that they will not leave Pakistan alone in any difficult time. He said in the next phase many projects of development and prosperity of Pakistan will be started. He said Saudi government is enjoying strong relations with Pakistani masses government and army.

He said that after Indonesia, Pakistan is the second largest country from which people come to Saudi Arabia for performing Hajj. He said during the ensuing year, 200,000 people from Indonesia performed Hajj and from Pakistan 180,000 people performed the Hajj. He said during the current year, 2.3 million people from whole world performed Hajj. He said extension work in the Haram Sharif is continued and after the completion of extension work Pakistani Hajj quota will be increased.

Al-Maliki said that King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman used to oversee the Hajj arrangements personally. He said Khadimul Harmain Sharifain and Crown Prince remained present in Makkah for this purpose. He said it is their desire that Muslim Ummah should live with pride. Replying a question, he said that 2.6 million Pakistanis are present in Saudi Arabia. He said in near future Saudi government will arrange more visas for Pakistan.

Al-Maliki said, “We want to support Pakistan at every level.” He said a large number of Pakistani students are studying in Saudi Arabia. He said that Pakistani students are learning in religious and other subjects. He said that 104 Pakistanis students are studying in engineering and other fields in King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals Dhahran.

He said King Fahaq University is included in the best universities of the world. He said that in near future we will exchange cultural delegations between the two countries. He said Saudi Embassy will play an important role in this regard. He said Saudi Arabia wants peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute. He said that Saudi Arabia will play its every possible role between Pakistan and India in this regard.

It is worth mentioning here that prior to this, Al-Maliki has performed services in Pakistan as Defense Attach of Saudi Arabia for three years. –