PM’s Visit to Saudi Arabia

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday left for Saudi Arabia on a three-day visit at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. During the visit, he will have bilateral interaction with the Saudi leadership, with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade, and investment ties and creating greater opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia. The two sides will also exchange views on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound by a fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation, and an abiding tradition of supporting each other. The bilateral relationship is complemented by close mutual collaboration at regional and international fora. Saudi Arabia is a member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to more than two million Pakistanis, contributing to the progress, prosperity, and economic development of the two brotherly countries. The regular high-level visits are a key feature of this special relationship. Both countries have had strategic relationship since decades. In order to diversify relations between both countries beyond security cooperation, previously Pakistan has negotiated an economic and cultural package that encouraged social and cultural exchange programs; increased the quota for the Pakistani workforce in construction projects in the kingdom; and secured Saudi investment for liquefied natural gas plants, an oil refinery, and alternate energy. Economic collaboration is also dominant to the strength of Pak Saudi relations, most obvious in the large number of Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia, but counting other features as well. In 2017, Pakistan estimated that 2.6 million Pakistanis were living in Saudi Arabia, which is more than 29 percent of all Pakistanis living abroad, and by far the biggest community living outside the country. Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia offers an opportunity to enhance Saudi-Pakistan’s strategic partnership in all its aspects. It could not have happened at a more suitable time.

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