JEDDAH: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met with King Salman on Wednesday as part of his first state visit overseas.
During the talks, they reviewed the close relations between their two countries, the prospects for their development and strengthening in various fields, as well as the latest regional developments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The meeting was attended by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor to the King, Prince of Makkah Region, Prince Mansour bin Mteb bin Abdulaziz and a number of other officials from both countries.
Khan arrived in the Kingdom for a visit expected to focus on bilateral ties, regional security and Pakistan’s economic situation.
Earlier, the prime minister was received by the King at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah before the a luncheon was held in his honor.
He then met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who congratulated him on his election as prime minister.
“They reviewed the historical relations between the two brotherly countries and ways to enhance them,” SPA said.
In an interview with Al Arabiya aired on Wednesday, Khan said Pakistan would always stand by Saudi Arabia, and that anyone who comes into power in the country would visit the Kingdom first. “Saudi Arabia came to Pakistan’s aid when it needed it,” Khan said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Khan performed Umrah in Makkah.
He then held a series of meetings, including with the Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday. Khan received Al-Falih at his residence in Jeddah to discuss ways of cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
He also held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen Khan, whose Tehreek-e-Insaf party won the July elections, is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other senior members of his cabinet.
The former cricketer visited Madinah where he prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to visit the UAE and Pakistani expatriates are excited. Many of them voiced the issues they would like discussed between the two nations, while others expressed their desire to meet the leader.
Nadeem Ahmad, an UAE-born Pakistani expatriate said that bilateral relations and business tie-ups should be discussed between Khan and UAE leaders.
Upon hearing the news of the visit, Ahmad said that he was surprised and “ready to welcome the [Pakistani] Prime Minister. Both countries can boost together, especially since they have a long history of relations and togetherness.” The 37-year-old said.
He also said that Pakistan has had strong relations with Arab nations across the region and this will further strengthen those.
Talking about UAE-based Pakistanis, Ahmad said that Imran Khan needs to cater to their issues and possibly help them with financial issues.
Discussing immigration, he said: “The procedures for Pakistanis coming to the UAE should be made even easier so that they can enjoy their lives here, should also be discussed. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have a large number of Pakistani expatriates and they bring a lot of foreign exchange to Pakistan.” So, discussing their issues is key, the site supervisor added.
As someone who grew up in the UAE, dealing with embassies and consulates of Pakistan in the country, Ahmad requested Khan to improve their condition and build better ones. “Whenever I visit Pakistan’s embassy, I see that embassies of other nations are properly built, when you see ours, it’s an old villa turned into an office,” he said.
Fatima Suhail, a Pakistani born in the UAE, believes that the officials should talk about “developing a stronger bond between Pakistan and the UAE. Not just politically but in terms of trade and the welfare of people.”
“The UAE has always been very kind towards Pakistan and Pakistan is going through financial difficulties right now. It would be good if the UAE could help and that’s one big reason to have this visit,” the Sharjah resident added.
The politician’s arrival will “promote Pakistan in a better light,” she said. “Pakistan is my home and so is the UAE. It’s great to see a strong bond between them.”
The 29-year-old also believes that issues regarding the community need to be discussed. “Ultimately it’s for the people and it should come down to the betterment of the population of the countries,” she said.
Suhail also said that Khan’s visit can help another major issue in Pakistan – the water crisis. “He [Khan] doesn’t only want support from his people but also from other countries and leaders as well,” she said.