Tuesday May 04, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia early next month from May 7 to 9 where he will discuss the release of Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails there.
According to a news report published in Arab News, the premier will be visiting the kingdom on the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's New Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Lieutenant General (retd) Bilal Akbar, in an interview with the Saudi media, said memorandums of understanding in three areas will be signed during the premier’s visit.
He said a meeting related to prisoners' release will be held during PM Imran Khan's visit whereas the release of prisoners will be expedited with Saudi Arabia's cooperation.
He added that hundreds of prisoners will be released from jails in Saudi Arabia and return to Pakistan.
This is not the first time when PM Imran has raised the issue of Pakistani prisoners languishing in Saudi jails.
Back in February 2019, the premier had requested the Saudi crown prince to release Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails during his visit to the country.
Following PM’s request, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman had ordered the release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
“We are setting up a helpline at the embassy which will work 24 hours a day," said the Pakistani ambassador, adding that the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia can use the helpline to communicate the problems and issues they are facing in the kingdom.
In addition, a community service program will be launched to address their concerns, added Lt Gen (retd) Bilal Akbar.
Confirming the prime minister's visit, foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri during a weekly press briefing, had said: “I can confirm that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be undertaking an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, early next month."
The publication, citing sources, said that during the visit, the prime minister will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi leaders.
"Many MoUs and agreements are expected to be signed,” the source said, adding that before the prime minister’s trip, armed forces chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa will arrive in the kingdom on May 4.
The prime minister will be accompanied by several members of the cabinet, which include: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, the PM’s special aide on the Middle East, Tahir Ashrafi, and the PM’s adviser on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam.