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Tuesday Jan 02 2018

Nawaz, Shehbaz Sharif return to Pakistan after meeting Saudi crown prince


RIYADH: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday returned to Pakistan after meeting the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

According to a statement issued by the Sharif family's spokesman, the Sharif brothers had a 1.5 hour-long meeting with the Saudi crown prince late Monday night. 

Nawaz left for Madinah after the meeting and visited Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH). He later visited Makkah for Umrah.

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the former premier, had posted on Twitter that her father would return to Pakistan tonight after performing Umrah. 

She had also shared a picture of Nawaz offering salam at Jannat-ul-Baqee.

'Went to Saudi Arabia on being invited for Umrah'

Shehbaz, who had returned to Pakistan earlier today, after his six-day visit had said that he went to Saudi Arabia after being invited for Umrah, in response to increasing criticism by opposition parties on Sharif brothers' multiple Saudi visits.

"Saudi Arabia is among the best friends of Pakistan. It has helped Pakistan without any conditions and has been there in times of difficulty. Both countries have blind faith in each other," he had said while addressing the media at the inauguration of a kidney centre, Shehbaz

Shehbaz had added that there was nothing unusual about his impromptu visit to Saudi Arabia.

Citing sources, Geo News had, earlier today reported, that Shehbaz had held a meeting with the crown prince twice in the last 24 hours.

Matters of mutual interests were discussed by both the leaders. Shehbaz had appreciated the role Saudi Arabia had played in the ongoing Palestine issue, sources had added.

Meanwhile, Punjab government spokesperson Mohammad Ahmed Khan had condemned the allegations levelled against Shehbaz on his visit to Saudi Arabia, saying the statements being spread were baseless.

According to the spokesperson, Saudi Arabia is an ally of Pakistan and it was an honour for Shehbaz to be sent an aircraft from there. Mohammad Ahmed added that to criticise the Saudi government or the chief minister on the move was tantamount to being against national interests.

The Punjab government spokesperson had said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have brotherly ties which no “negative propaganda” can break.

Opposition parties have questioned the motive behind visits by the Sharif brothers to Saudi Arabia, and have asked if an agreement is being negotiated to save the Sharifs.

On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari commented on the Sharif brothers’ visit to Saudi Arabia, saying an agreement might be “cooking” in the country.

“No one knows what is cooking. There are a couple of rumours surrounding their visits to Saudi Arabia,” he said while talking to media


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