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PM Shehbaz to embark on three-day maiden visit to Saudi Arabia tomorrow

PM leaving for Saudi Arabia this week for first foreign visit

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to pay a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia from April 28-30, at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

This would be the prime minister’s first visit abroad after assuming the office earlier this month. The prime minister will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including key members of the cabinet.

During the visit, he will have bilateral interaction with the Saudi leadership, with particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties and creation of greater opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia. The two sides will also exchange views on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The three-day visit from April 28 to 30, the Prime Minister’s Office said, would be a “milestone” for the longstanding bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which would “further strengthen” the existing strategic cooperation between the two countries.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound by fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation, and an abiding tradition of supporting each other.

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 has on multiple occasions bailed out Pakistan’s struggling economy, whereas Islamabad has provided extensive support for the Saudi armed forces in the shape of arms and training.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said in a statement that the prime minister is carrying a heavy entourage on state expense. He claimed that the government was lying that the prime minister was going to Saudi Arabia on a commercial flight and all members of the entourage will bear their expenses.

However, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said PM Sharif was not going to Saudi Arabia on a chartered plane. “The PM would go to Saudi Arabia on a commercial flight and he would bear expenses of his visit. For 10 years as Punjab’s chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif used to pay his travel expenses out of his own pocket,” she added.

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