ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday arrived in Saudi Arabia for a three-day visit at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
According to official sources, during the visit, he will have bilateral interaction with the Saudi leadership, with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade, and investment ties and creating greater opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in the kingdom.
The two sides will exchange views on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest. The Foreign Office said in a statement: “The prime minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia will impart a strong impetus to deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields and further reinforce the growing partnership between the two countries.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound by a fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation, and an “The people of Pakistan hold the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the highest esteem.
“The bilateral relationship is complemented by close mutual collaboration at regional and international fora. Saudi Arabia is a member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to more than two million Pakistanis, contributing to the progress, prosperity, and economic development of the two brotherly countries. The regular high-level visits are a key feature of this special relationship,” added the statement.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shahzain Bugti, Mohsin Dawar, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Chaudhry Salik, and four members of PM Shehbaz Sharif's personal staff are accompanying the prime minister during the visit.
Governor Madinah Faisal bin Salman Al Saud and high-level Saudi officials received the prime minister after he touched down in the kingdom. The PM held a brief meeting with Madinah's governor, where both the leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations.
Taking to Twitter before leaving for Saudi Arabia, PM Shehbaz said that his visit will "renew and reaffirm" ties between the two countries. He added that he will hold wide-ranging discussions with the Saudi leadership.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday said his visit to Saudi Arabia and meetings with the Saudi leadership would take the special relationship between the two countries to new heights. "I look forward to a meeting with the leadership of Saudi Arabia in a bid to review the multifaceted bilateral cooperation and taking the special relationship to new heights,” he said in a video message prior to his departure for Saudi Arabia.
He expressed pleasure that after assuming his office, Saudi Arabia was the first country he was visiting. It reflected the high importance Pakistan gives to its special relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is historic in nature and also strategic in importance, PM Shehbaz said adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were bound by deep-rooted and abiding fraternal ties, which were built on the solid foundation of mutual trust and support.
He said the people of Pakistan held the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in high esteem. “We are profoundly grateful to Saudi Arabia for its consistent support in difficult times,” he said. He said Pakistan had always stood with Saudi Arabia at different occasions and “would always stand with our Saudi brethren”. He said the visionary Saudi leadership had worked assiduously for the people of Saudi Arabia, adding that Pakistan took pride in the remarkable achievement of Saudi Arabia within the framework of the Crown Prince’s visionary 2030 project.
He commended the leadership role of Saudi Arabia among the Muslim Ummah and for its deep commitment to the Muslim cause. He also conveyed his best wishes for the Pakistani expatriates in the Kingdom for always contributing enormously to the economic development of Pakistan. He said the Pakistani diaspora was a key partner in further fortifying the Pak-Saudi relationship.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said PM Shehbaz Sharif’s historic visit to Saudi Arabia would open up a new chapter in exemplary friendship between the two countries. She said the visit was a manifestation of a historic relationship based on brotherhood, warmth, and mutual trust.