ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday while condemning the Houthi militia attacks targeting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the Kingdom’s security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The prime minister received Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The prime minister praised the leadership role of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in promoting Islamic unity, and acknowledged the endeavours of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for peace and security in the region and beyond.
He also lauded the vision of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for KSA’s progress and prosperity and his invaluable contribution to the abiding fraternal relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Prime minister Khan particularly thanked the Kingdom for its steadfast support to Pakistan, especially in challenging times and for the recent financial budgetary support extended to Pakistan.
Thanking the Saudi leadership for hosting a large Pakistani community, the prime minister emphasized the need for further strengthening people-to-people linkages.
Noting the conclusion of the Agreement on Transfer of Offenders between the two countries, he expressed the hope that a large number of Pakistani prisoners in KSA would be repatriated to Pakistan through this framework.
Prince Abdulaziz conveyed cordial greetings of the crown prince to the prime minister and reaffirmed the close fraternal relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
He also acknowledged the positive contribution of Pakistanis in the development of the Kingdom and reiterated the resolve to work closely with the Pakistan side on all matters relating to his ministry.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound in a fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation, and an abiding tradition of supporting each other.
The treaty to repatriate over 2,000 Pakistanis jailed in the kingdom was signed during PM Khan’s visit to the kingdom in May 2021. Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved the agreement during a session, chaired by King Salman, on January 25.
The agreement allows Pakistani individuals convicted in Saudi Arabia, especially for minor offenses, to complete their terms at home. It also benefits prisoners languishing in Saudi jails for not being able to pay fines.
“Noting the conclusion of the Agreement on Transfer of Offenders between the two countries, the prime minister expressed the hope that a large number of Pakistani prisoners in KSA would be repatriated to Pakistan through this framework,” PM Khan’s office said in a statement.
“The prime minister particularly thanked the kingdom for its steadfast support to Pakistan, especially in challenging times. He thanked the Saudi leadership for the recent financial budgetary support extended to Pakistan.”
The Saudi interior minister conveyed greetings of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the prime minister and reaffirmed close fraternal relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, according to the statement.
Prince Abdulaziz acknowledged the positive contribution of Pakistanis in the development of the kingdom and reiterated the resolve to work closely with the Pakistani side on all matters relating to his ministry.
He also held a meeting with Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi. “Saudi Minister for Interior informed that steps were being taken to help address the issue of Pakistani prisoners by the technical teams of the two countries,” President Alvi’s office said in a statement.
The president expressed gratitude to the Saudi leadership for launching the “Road to Makkah” pilot project for Hajj pilgrims, stating the Pakistani government was looking forward to its expansion to other cities of the country.
The Saudi interior minister hinted at including two more cities in the “Road to Makkah” project, Pakistani Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri said.
“Both countries discussed further easing the visa and immigration process for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan but vowed to strictly implement COVID-19 guidelines,” Qadri was quoted as saying in a statement.
Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, Pakistani PM’s aide on the Middle East, told Arab News both countries agreed to implement the prisoner release treaty.
“The Saudi interior minister has assured of the implementation of all agreements, including the prisoners release treaty, signed between the two countries,” Ashrafi said.
“The interior ministries of both countries will work together for speedy implementation of the prisoner release agreement.”
The Saudi interior minister also held a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, in Islamabad.
The two officials agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and increase connectivity between the ministries of interior, the Pakistani ministry said.
“Better liaison between the interior ministries of both countries was necessary to address different issues, including security challenges,” it said.
On the occasion, Prince Abdulaziz said relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were based on mutual trust and Islamic brotherhood, according to the statement.
Ahmed told his Saudi counterpart that Pakistan attached great importance to its historic and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia.
He said more than two million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia were their asset. “We are grateful to the Saudi government for the excellent care of Pakistani workers,” Ahmed added.
In his meeting with Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and efforts for border management and regional stability, the Pakistani military said.
Prince Abdulaziz pledged to play his part for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels, it added.
On the conclusion of the visit, Ahmed bid farewell to the Saudi interior minister at the Noor Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi.
He also presented a commemorative photo album to his Saudi counterpart on his visit.
Meeting with Gen Bajwa
His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Interior Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), today.
During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security, current situation in Afghanistan and bilateral defence relations between the two countries were discussed. COAS said that Pakistan values its historical and brotherly relations with the Kingdom and acknowledges its unique place in the Islamic world.
The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghan situation, special efforts for border management, role in regional stability and pledged to play his part for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.