Saudi Arabia gifts
Pakistan two mosques
in AJK and PK

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ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia on Monday handed over two mosques in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) as a “gift” to the people of Pakistan, the Saudi ambassador to Islamabad said.
The Kingdom donated the King Abdul Aziz Mosque in the city of Mansehra, KP, which can accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers, according to the Saudi embassy. The King Fahd Mosque in Muzaffarabad has a capacity to accommodate more than 6000 worshipers.
The mosques contain spacious courtyards and have distinct designs, inspired by the two mosques in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque.
“These two holy mosques, one in Mansehra and other in Muzaffarabad, were built by the government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a gift to the people of Pakistan,” Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki told Arab News on the sidelines of the handing over ceremony in Islamabad.

This photo shows aerial view of “The King Abdul Aziz Mosque” in Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, gifted by Saudi government to Pakistan that can accommodate more than 10, 000 worshippers. (Courtesy: Saudi Embassy Islamabad)

“Both countries enjoy historic and deep relations with economic, military and cultural cooperation. These mosques also showed the depth of religious and cultural ties.”
He said following the 2005 earthquake, the kingdom had completed many welfare projects in affected areas of Azad Kashmir and KP. “These included hospitals, houses, schools, water and sanitation [projects].”
Saudi Arabia wants a strong and prosperous Pakistan, and has always stood with it through thick and thin, Ambassador Al-Malki said, noting the $3 billion deposit and $1.2 billion oil facility recently pledged by the kingdom.

This photo shows aerial view of “King Fahd Mosque” in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, gifted by Saudi government to Pakistan that can accommodate more than 10, 000 worshippers. (Courtesy: Saudi Embassy Islamabad)

Pakistan’s religious affairs minister Noor ul Haq Qadri said this “gift” was a clear manifestation of Pakistan’s longstanding historical, spiritual and religious relations with Saudi Arabia.
“On behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, I am thankful for this kind act of the Saudi leadership,” Qadri told Arab News, adding that these mosques were built by the Saudi government on the request of local people as no such big mosques were left in these areas after the 2005 earthquake.

A group photo of Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Makli with Pakistani religious affairs minister Noor ul Haq Qadri along with other officials during handing over ceremony of the two large mosques in Islamabad on Nov. 15, 2021.
(Courtesy: Religious Affairs ministry)

Qadri expressed hopes for an early revival of Umrah pilgrimage for Pakistani people. “I have spoken with the ambassador for the revival of Umrah for Pakistani people and he gave me a good news that the kingdom will allow Pakistanis to perform the pilgrimage very soon.”
Zahoor Shakir, an adviser to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on religious affairs, also thanked the Saudi government for building the King Abdul Aziz Mosque in Mansehra.
“I want to assure that the provincial government of KP will look after this gift, which is very close to our hearts, and ensure its maintenance,” Shakir told Arab News.

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Makli (L) and Pakistan’s Religious Minister Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri (R) sign the handing over document of two mosques gifted by the Kingdom to Pakistan in Islamabad on Nov. 15, 2021. (Courtesy: Religious Affairs ministry)

AJK minister for religious affairs, Hafiz Hamid Raza, termed it a historic occasion for the Kashmiri people as Saudi government fulfilled their longstanding desire by donating a “very noble gift” to them.
“Saudi leadership always stood by Kashmiris and was at the forefront in relief and welfare activities after the 2005 earthquake,” he said.