Saturday Apr 30 2022

PM Shehbaz arrives in UAE after concluding three-day Saudi Arabia visit

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) walks with UAE Minister for Justice Abdullah bin Sultan Al-Nuaimi after arriving in the United Arab Emirates, on April 30, 2022. — Screengrab from video shared by Prime Ministers Office
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) walks with UAE Minister for Justice Abdullah bin Sultan Al-Nuaimi after arriving in the United Arab Emirates, on April 30, 2022. — Screengrab from video shared by Prime Minister's Office

  • PM Shehbaz touches down in UAE on a day's visit.
  • The prime minister is leading a high-level delegation.
  • He was in Saudi Arabia earlier on a three-day visit.

After completing his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a day-long visit, a statement from the premier's office said Saturday. 

During his visit to the UAE, the prime minister will meet Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

It is expected that both sides will discuss "matters of mutual interest, including bilateral relations of the countries", the Prime Minister's Office said in the statement.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Communications Minister Maulana Asad Mahmood, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Narcotics Control Minister Shahzain Bugti, MNAs Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Mohsin Dawar, among others, are accompanying the PM.

Govt to promote interests of Muslim ummah: PM 

Before leaving for UAE, PM Shehbaz had met Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha in Makkah. 

In his meeting, PM Shehbaz affirmed his government’s commitment to promoting the interests of the Muslim ummah as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. 

"Pakistan, as the current chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, was looking forward to playing a proactive role with regard to the matters of interest and concern to the OIC member states," the premier maintained. 

Thanking the secretary-general for OIC's consistent and unequivocal support of the Kashmir cause, he urged the organisation to lead the diplomatic endeavours towards facilitating a peaceful and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz invited the OIC to launch a concerted effort to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and other occupied Palestinian territories. He stressed that Israel must not be allowed to divide the blessed mosque, temporally and spatially, between the people of a different faith.

The PM also underscored the need for the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. 

He emphasised that the OIC should step up its efforts to counter growing Islamophobia at the international level.

The premier invited the secretary-general to pay a visit to Pakistan, to which he accepted the invitation. 

Reiterating his felicitations to the PM on assuming office, secretary-general Hissein also highlighted the important role that Pakistan has always played in the OIC as a founding member.

He also reaffirmed the OIC’s support for a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and expressed to resolve to work closely with Pakistan on key issues of concern to the Muslim ummah, especially Palestine, Afghanistan and Islamophobia.

PM meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman

A day earlier, PM Shehbaz had met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Jeddah.

During the meeting, both the leaders discussed bilateral ties, including matters related to expanding business and trade.

Upon arrival at the Al-Salam Palace, Prime Minister Shehbaz was cordially welcomed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, a guard of honour was also presented to the visiting dignitary.

According to the PM Office, matters related to strengthening bilateral and trade ties including cooperation in various fields were discussed in the meeting.

"PM Shehbaz Sharif met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The matters relating to expanding trade & business ties, increasing investment, & creating opportunities for Pakistan's manpower came under discussion during the meeting," said in a statement issued by PM's office. 

Later, on his personal Twitter account, PM Shehbaz said that he had a "great meeting" with the Saudi crown prince. 

"We reaffirmed our commitment to taking Pakistan-Saudi ties to a new and higher level. I admired his visionary leadership and thanked him for according us a warm welcome and for always standing with Pakistan," said PM Shehbaz.

He also said that the two leader discussed "ways and means" to further strengthen the bilateral relationship in all areas.

This was PM Shehbaz's first foreign trip after assuming office earlier this month.