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Pak-KSA ties on solid footing, says PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia had strengthened further adding that Pakistanis had immense emotional attachment with the kingdom, as it always stood by them in difficult times.

Addressing the expatriates at the Digital Roshan Account function in Jeddah, he said Pakistan would have defaulted had Saudi Arabia and the UAE not helped shore up its foreign reserves. “If we had defaulted, there would have been severe consequences,” he added. Imran said he wanted to thank Saudi Arabia because it always stood by Pakistan in its difficult times.

He said the Kingdom not only helped Pakistan with its foreign reserves, but also gave it oil on deferred payments. Imran shared a ‘good news’ with the expatriates that a new Pakistan would emerge very soon, defeating the status quo mafias.

He said they might be receiving things of disappointment coming from Pakistan through the newspapers but ‘I want to tell about the battle, the direction in which the struggle is heading, is towards Pakistan of the Quaid, who believed in the rule of law’.

Imran explained that he was fighting a battle to free the country of such mafias, who wanted to continue with the old Pakistan, whereas he was fighting for Pakistan, which would have been, 70 years ago, but the destiny was sidetracked and the country kept going away from its destiny.

He maintained that the battle of independence always took some time. “But God willing, I am sharing this good news with you that very soon, a new Pakistan will be before you, as none can stop this change,” he emphasized.

He said there was a decisive moment in Pakistan at the moment. “On the one side is the status quo, on the other side are the mafias who are trying to save the old system,” he said.

“On the other hand, the entire people of Pakistan are with me, who are leading the way to change and the rule of law. This is in fact a struggle for the rule of law. A society rises where the rule of law prevails, where there is no rule of law but of power, a society can’t develop,” he contended.

He said on the one side there was a system of humanity and justice, while on the other side there was a system of jungle. “Where there is supremacy of power, the country cannot develop. On the one hand, there are the old states and the mafias who are taking advantage of the corrupt system and all are together. On the other hand, the people and our government are fighting for a change,” he said.

About the Digital Roshan Account, Prime Minister Imran Khan said it was a great programme and worked to take advantage of the potential of overseas Pakistanis and increase foreign exchange.

He said the aim of Roshan Digital Account portal was to enhance remittances by tapping the real potential of overseas Pakistanis. “Economic stability in the country has paved way for the diaspora to invest in Pakistan,” he noted.

Imran said no one could stop this change because there was awareness within the country and the nation had understood the issues, which were not there before, the reason was social media, the youth had the information that was never there before.

“Our party came to power because of social media and the youth; this change is also due to the youth”. Speaking on the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan said despite Covid-19 ‘we saved livelihood and economy simultaneously’. Comparing Pakistan with its neighbouring countries, he said the country's economic indicators were positive and exports were increasing.

He said the overseas Pakistanis sent remittances to their families in Pakistan but the government had not been able to convince them to invest in Pakistan and there were several reasons behind it.

Imran directed Pakistan's ambassador in Saudi Arabia to keep in touch with the expatriates and address their issues. He also talked about how overseas Pakistanis were being treated by the Pak embassy in Saudi Arabia, about which he had received reports.

“We received reports and complaints that the Pakistani community was not being provided with service for the last 18 months,” he said. He said coronavirus had destroyed the most powerful economies in the world and the exports of Pakistan’s neighbours had dropped drastically.

But, he added, Pakistan’s exports were going up and its construction industry was growing. “The industry is creating jobs,” he said, adding that it is a “very decisive moment” for Pakistan. “We have strengthened our relationship with Saudi Arabia and it is very important to us.

Imran also met the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen in Makkah and sought a concrete response from the OIC on the rising incidents of Islamophobia.

Highlighting the rise of Islamophobic incidents in different parts of the world, he stressed the importance of a concerted response from the OIC. It was noted that following the prime minister’s letter addressed to heads of state of Muslim countries, the OIC Council of Foreign Minister (CFM) in Niamey had adopted a unanimous resolution on observing 15 March as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Imran emphasised that it had to be a collective endeavour of the Muslim leadership to make sure that the world recognised the special love and reverence that the Muslims had for the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Secondly, it was imperative not to allow anyone to create any linkage between Islam and terrorism. The prime minister called upon the international community to show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence.

He strongly condemned the Israeli attack against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and reiterated his call on the international community to take steps to protect the Palestinians and their legitimate rights.

The prime minister also called upon the OIC to play its rightful role in addressing the serious situation. The OIC Secretary General shared information with the prime minister on the OIC’s activities in support of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The OIC has steadfastly supported the Kashmir cause and in this context the Niamey CFM culminated with a comprehensive resolution on the issue. Meanwhile, the prime minister also met the Secretary General of the World Muslim League (WML), Mohammad Al Issa, in Makkah.

During the meeting, the prime minister appreciated the humanitarian efforts of the Muslim World League across different parts of world and stressed that the organization was well placed to present the true image of Islam and promote interfaith harmony.

Imran highlighted the importance of combating Islamophobia and hoped that the Muslim Ummah would take it up as a unified cause. Meanwhile, Imran performed Umrah and before the Tawaf, the doors of Baitullah were opened for him.