PM Ashraf reaches Jeddah, will meet Saudi leadership
16 July, 2012
JEDDAH: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, on Sunday, arrived in Jeddah to perform Umrah and meet the Saudi leadership.
He received a warm welcome upon landing at the Royal Terminal and was received by Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Pakistan Ibrahim al Ghadeer, the chief of protocol of the royal family, members of the Pakistani embassy and senior Saudi government officials.
Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, giving details of the PM's visit, said that this was the prime minister's first visit to Saudi Arabia and it indicated strong bonds of brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries.
The ambassador said that the prime minister would have meetings with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and the new Saudi leadership, including Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz. He said that the prime minister would also express sorrow with the king on the sad demise of crown prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz.
The prime minister will discuss regional and international situation, especially issues related to peace, security and stability in the region with the Saudi king.
The prime minister will also address the Pakistani community and inform them about the latest political developments in Pakistan. The ambassador said that Pakistan had very strong strategic ties with Saudi Arabia and both countries had similarities of views on regional and international issues.
There is a strong presence of over 1.5 million Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia, who have been contributing to the foreign exchange reserves of Pakistan, he added. He said that last year, the remittances from Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to Pakistan were $ 2.7 billion, which would cross the three billion dollars mark this year.
The ambassador said that the community needed more facilities of machine-readable passports, as the existing ones were not sufficient to meet the requirement of the growing number of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia.
To a question, the ambassador said over 200,000 Pakistanis performed Umrah every year, while around the same number performed Hajj.
He said the prime minister would also urge Saudi investors to make more investments in Pakistan.
He added that Saudi Arabia had always come to the assistance of Pakistan in the hour of need.
Raja will visit Madina today (Monday) to pay respects at the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH). Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah is accompanying the prime minister.