Good start

Sir: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday held separate meetings with the Saudi media minister and the Chinese foreign minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Islamabad.

Minister of Media, Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad assured PM Khan that the Kingdom fully supports Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability in the region. The two officials discussed other matters of mutual interest as well.

The Saudi official conveyed felicitations to PM Khan on behalf of the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and invited him to visit Saudi Arabia, Radio Pakistan reported. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry both attended the meeting, APP reported, quoting a press release from the PMO.

Awwad’s meeting with Khan comes a day after he held a meeting with Qureshi during which he conveyed Saudi Arabia’s desire to work with the new government. Awwad also met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi yesterday, and affirmed his country’s commitment to strengthening its brotherly ties with Pakistan. Building friendly ties with Saudi Arabia will make help unite the Muslim ummah and may even make it easier for people to travel between the two countries. Even though the Kingdom increased the quota for Pakistani pilgrims, they should do more torelax its visa policy for people who wish to perform Umrah.

Haq also requested Saudi government to provide land for Pakistan House near the holy sites in both Makkah and Madina. And there would be complete facilities for the Pakistani Muslims going through to perform their religious duties.

On the other side, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, also met with PM Khan. The meeting was attended by the information minister and foreign minister.

According to a tweet from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s official account, Yi discussed “bilateral relations” with the prime minister.

A day earlier, Wang also held meetings with Qureshi and the army chief. Qureshi assured his Chinese counterpart that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would remain a priority for the government, while Wang rejected the impression that CPEC projects were compounding Pakistan’s debt burden. Finally, these strong ties with China and Saudi Arabia would result in progress and peace, like so many in the country want.



Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.