ISLAMABAD: Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki said on Saturday that the kingdom had always stood by the South Asian nation and would never abandon it during its time of need.
“We have not left Pakistan before and we will never leave it in difficult circumstances in the future as well,” he said during a meeting with Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in Lahore.
The visit of the Saudi envoy to Pakistan’s most densely populated Punjab province coincided with the South Asian nation’s 74th Independence Day during which he held separate meetings with several high-profile individuals in Lahore.
Apart from the province’s governor, these people included Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and leaders of various religious parties.
During these meetings, the participants discussed matters of mutual interests including different ways of promoting bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Al-Malki congratulated the provincial leadership on the occasion of Pakistan’s independence anniversary and expressed well wishes for the Pakistani nation.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are like two brothers,” a statement released by the governor’s office quoted Al-Malki. “We consider Pakistan our home and will continue to play our role for its development.”
The Saudi envoy said that Umrah pilgrims would soon be allowed to visit Saudi Arabia with all the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also reminded his interlocutors that the kingdom had successfully managed Hajj this year by prudently limiting the number of pilgrims and implementing stringent precautionary measures.
Governor Sarwar said the ideal relations between the two countries were a source of pride for 220 million Pakistanis.
“Islamabad gives importance to its ties with Riyadh,” he added. “The cooperation of the Saudi government in the development of Pakistan is commendable.”
A handout issued on Friday after the meeting between the ambassador and Punjab chief minister said that the two discussed Pak-Saudi relations and investment opportunities in Punjab.
Buzdar said his administration wanted to “develop a new Lahore to keep the environment of the city clean,” adding that the Punjab government would provide maximum facilities to investors from Saudi Arabia under its one window operation.
He continued that special economic zones (SEZs) were being established in the province and development work on Bahawalpur’s SEZ would soon begin.
The chief minister informed the economic zones would offer special incentives to foreign investors.
In another meeting, the Saudi ambassador also called on Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Elahi told the Saudi envoy that the bilateral ties between the two countries had been further strengthened under the country’s new political administration, while Hussain said that they both enjoyed brotherly relations and no power could undo their strong bond.