Raja gets warm reception in Jeddah
He received a warm welcome when he landed at the Royal Terminal here. He was received by Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Pakistan Ibrahim Al Ghadeer along with the members of Pakistan Embassy and Saudi government high officials.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khurshid Ahmed Shah is the only minister, who accompanied the Prime Minister on his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
It is the first ever foreign visit of Prime Minister Ashraf.
The Prime Minister will have an audience with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and other Saudi leaders during his stay here.
He will perform Umrah on Sunday night while on Monday he will visit Madina Munawarrah to pay respects at the Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH). Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, giving details of the PM’s visit, said that the first ever foreign visit of the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia indicated strong bonds of brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries.
The Ambassador said that the Prime Minister would have a chance to meet King Abdullah bin Abdulah Aziz and the new Saudi leadership, including Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who would also be present on the occasion.
He said the new Crown Prince was a very strong friend of Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan had very strong strategic ties with Saudi Arabia and both the 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 the country, he added.
He said last year the remittances from Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to Pakistan were 2.7 billion dollars, which would cross the three billion dollars mark this year.
The Ambassador said that the community needed more facilities of machine readable passports here as the exiting ones were not sufficient to meet the requirement of growing number of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia.
Replying to a question, the Ambassador said over 200,000 Pakistanis performed Umrah every year while around the same number performed Hajj. —APP