PM Shehbaz to embark on 3-day visit to Saudi Arabia today

Prior to his departure, PM Shehbaz said he was embarking on the visit to “renew and reaffirm our bonds of brotherhood and friendship”.

“I will have wide-ranging discussions with [the] Saudi leadership,” he said, calling the kingdom one of Pakistan’s “greatest friends”.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the three-day trip, from April 28-30, was the prime minister’s first since assuming office.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Foreign Office (FO) said the prime minister will be accompanied by a high-level delegation which will include key members of the federal cabinet.

“During the visit, the prime minister 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 statement said.

PM Shehbaz’s visit to Saudi Arabia will impart a strong impetus to deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields and further reinforce the growing partnership between the two countries, the statement added.

The Saudi crown prince had officially extended the invitation on April 16, when he had called PM Shehbaz to felicitate him after he became premier and assured him of the Kingdom’s continued support for Pakistan.

The two leaders had also discussed bilateral ties and reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing and developing them in all respects. The crown prince, according to the Saudi Press Agency, had confirmed the keenness of the Saudi leadership on supporting Pakistan in all fields.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the premier and the crown prince had also agreed to work together to further augment and diversify their bilateral ties in all spheres, particularly trade, investment and employment generation opportunities.

PM Shehbaz had thanked the crown prince for the support his country has been extending to Pakistan, describing it as “historic”.

PM Shehbaz’s trip has also garnered attention for reasons apart from it being his first foreign visit. He is also slated to perform Umrah and will be accompanied by several members of his family which has invited criticism from the PTI. However, the information minister has insisted that the prime minister is going on a commercial flight and all members of his entourage would be bearing their own expenses.

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