Islamabad – Mudasser Chudhary:
Prime Minister Imran Khan will touch down in Riyadh on Friday on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss bilateral cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Thursday.
At the invitation of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Premier will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including the Foreign Minister and other members of the Cabinet.
During the visit, the PM’s consultations with the Saudi leadership will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economic, trade, investment, energy, job opportunities for Pakistani workforce, and welfare of Pakistani Diaspora in the Kingdom. The two sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. A number of bilateral agreements/MoUs are expected to be signed during the visit.
The Prime Minister will also meet the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the Secretary General of the World Muslim League, Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa and the Imams of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medina. Prime Minister Imran Khan will also interact with Pakistani Diaspora in Jeddah.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long-standing and historic fraternal relations, rooted deep in common faith, shared history and mutual support. The people of Pakistan hold the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the highest esteem. The relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields and mutual collaboration on regional and international issues, in particular those faced by the Muslim Ummah. Saudi Arabia is a member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.
Saudi Arabia is home to more than two million Pakistanis, contributing towards the progress and prosperity of both countries. Regular high-level bilateral visits continue to play a pivotal role in providing impetus to the fraternal ties and close cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, speaking at an event in Lahore, PM promised to bring about a “revolution” in Pakistan’s agriculture sector. He spoke about the various sectors of Pakistan, including agriculture and tourism, that had been ignored by previous governments. “First we were stabilising the economy but now, our entire focus is on agriculture,” he said. “I am leading it myself and I will prove to you by bringing about a major revolution in agriculture,” he added. PM Khan said Pakistan had never given much thought or importance to its agriculture sector. “We haven’t given importance to agriculture over the past 50 years,” he added.
Highlighting his government’s efforts, the premier said authorities had paid all the dues of the sugarcane farmers over the past two years. “No one had given them their [due] payments,” he said. “All we did was give them their dues over the past two days and DG sports, our wheat yield is at a record high, as per our assessments,” added PM Khan. He said as per the government’s estimates, rice and corn yields this year will also break records.
He spoke about the housing sector, lamenting how the common man is unable to afford houses or places of shelter for themselves. Turning his guns towards the Opposition, the prime minister said a “union” has been formed in the name of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) who are trying to escape accountability.
He lamented that there was no concept of holding the powerful to account in Pakistan. The premier praised Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), saying that the principles on which he founded the State of Medinah were a shining example for governments around the world even DG sports. “The Holy Quran has ordered us to follow his [Holy Prophet PBUH] example because it is a success story,” he said.
Speaking about the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, he said the passing of the foreclosure law had made it possible for banks to provide loans to the people, adding that this was not previously so. He said the government had introduced the housing scheme so that salaried people and those belonging to the working class were able to afford houses for themselves. The premier lamented how previous governments never thought about providing low-cost housing projects for the poor. He said if Pakistan’s housing sector booms, it will lead to a positive effect on other industries as well.
“Thirty sectors are linked to the housing sector as well,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s economy will benefit once the houses are constructed as people will then avail services from other sectors once the construction is completed. Speaking about the tourism sector, he said it was unfortunate no one had previously given thought to it despite its massive potential. “Pakistan’s tourism sector alone has the potential to earn even more for the country than its exports,” he added. Taking shots at predecessor governments, PM Khan said Pakistan’s rulers have always opted to go for vacations and holidays abroad despite the presence of several tourist resorts in the country.