ISLAMABAD: Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, an imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, held talks with Pakistan's military chief on Monday wherein he said that the country holds a "momentous place in the Muslim world."
Al-Juhani also told General Qamar Javed Bajwa that he appreciated the positive role played by Pakistan in maintaining regional peace and stability.
“Both expressed satisfaction on the brotherly relations between the two countries and stressed upon the need for intensifying efforts to enhance peace and harmony in the Muslim world,” a statement released by the military's media wing, the ISPR, read.
Earlier in the day, Al-Juhani had also held a meeting with President Dr. Arif Alvi wherein he said that bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not based on diplomacy alone, but on faith as well.
"Imam Al-Juhani said that the relationship of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is not merely a diplomatic one but is based on faith,” a statement released by the President's Office read, adding that the imam “stressed that there should be more frequent exchange of delegations between the two countries in various fields.”
Dr. Alvi, for his part, said that Pakistan highly valued its relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the two countries share mutual "bonds of history, culture, traditions, faith, and values."
Recalling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "highly successful" visit to Pakistan in February this year, he added that the crown prince had "won the hearts of Pakistani people with his generous offer to support the Pakistani community."
The president further appreciated Saudi Arabia for the support extended to Pakistani pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Hajj and Umrah each year. He also welcomed Saudi's "decision to increase the Hajj quota for Pakistan to 200,000," in addition to "including Pakistan in its Road to Makkah initiative,” the statement read.
Dr. Alvi added that the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia serves as a strong bridge between the two brotherly countries.
“Pakistanis consider Saudi Arabia as their second home and work devotedly for the progress and prosperity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement added.
Imam Al-Juhani, on Sunday, had addressed the fourth International Message of Islam Conference in Islamabad where he underlined that the "teachings of Islam have nothing to do with terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence."
A joint statement issued after the conference stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and forbearance, adding that “elements responsible for fanning terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence are enemies of Islam and Muslims."
The conference also decided to call for a meeting between Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries to finalize the mechanism for an Islamic Ideological Alliance, adding that "the Muslim Ummah is not negligent toward its responsibility" to ensure security and stability in Saudi Arabia.
"Defense of Harmain Al Sharifain is part of every Muslim's faith and no one will be allowed to play with it's peace and security,” the statement said.