Rich tributes paid to King Abdullah
Everyone calls King Abdullah the king of the hearts and the king of humanity despite the fact he asked them not to give him any title and to simply call him Khadim-i-Haramain Sharifain. He is a serious , humble and religious leader. His mission is to fulfill his duties. And while fulfilling his responsibilities, he does not want any reward. He simply asks his subject, “ Do not forget me while you say your du’a.”
The elite of the royal family stood with King Abdullah side by side including Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Prince Muqran bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdul Aziz. He is a fatherly figure and an undisputed leader.
The good news is that King Abdullah participated in all the cultural activities despite a vicious sandstorm that dampened Janadriyah and ripped through the capital Riyadh. The King witnessed the camel race and awarded winners trophies. It was business as usual to him even as the sand storm blew virtually non stop transforming day into night.
King Abdullah was keen also to visit the Pavilion of Japan, which is participating as a guest of honour as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity with the heroic people of Japan who continue to work hard to overcome the damages of the tsunami and the earthquakes. It is a great gesture that is appreciate by the Saudi people and international community.
As the first guest country from Asia at this festival, Japan has set up an impressive and innovative Janadriyah Pavilion. It represents a comprehensive picture of Japan including exhibitions by 12 top Japanese companies. The pavilion features advanced technologies related to water, environment, energy, automobiles, digital appliances, arts and crafts and modern Japanese games and fashion.
On this occasion Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz issued a decree to promote over 100,000 members of the Defence and Civil Aviation Ministry. This is in addition to $ 135 billion package that covered all sections of the Saudi society. Seeing the king healthy and full of energy has generated tremendous joy and festivities in Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah is very sensitive and responsive. He is aware of the problems being faced by his people and would never hesitate extending help to his subjects.
King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa participated as a special guest from GCC. He held talks with Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on strengthening ties and described Saudi Arabia as a strategic depth for the Kingdom of Bahrain. King Abdullah hosted a dinner on his honour and the foreign delegates inside a huge and modern tent in the Janadriyah.
King Abdullah ordered that cultural activities should continue uninterrupted despite the passing away of his sister Princess Seeta bint Abdul Aziz. He simply did not want to disrupt the joy of his people at any cost. The delegates were very much impressed by this gesture.
King Abdullah insists on performing his official duties even as he was asked by his doctors to have more rests. He says that working for the welfare of his people is the ultimate medicine that would cure him. He is totally committed to the development and reforms especially at this critical phase in the contemporary history of Saudi Arabia. He is holding extensive talks with his advisors and representatives of the civil society on social and political reforms. People here predict that soon Saudi Arabia would witness a municipal elections in which women would also be given the right to vote. King Abdullah has a pragmatic and gradual plan of empowerment of the Saudi women.
While exchanging views with high Saudi officials, I found tremendous goodwill and affection for the people of Pakistan. Members of Pakistani community here commend the Saudi authorities for affinity to Pakistan. Many urge the business community to be competitive and transparent in their transactions with the Saudi private sector. Once, they follow this advice, trade with Saudi Arabia would, they argue, increase manifolds.