Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday after recent signals from Riyadh indicate that the kingdom’s leaders were not happy with Imran’s decision to attend Kuala Lumpur summit scheduled to be held in Malaysia later this month, Dawn reported.
According to the details, PM Imran will reportedly reassure Saudi leadership that ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia remain firm despite Islamabad’s engagement with other Muslim countries.
The reports further reveal that Saudis are seeing the summit an an attempt by Malaysia to present an alternative to the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the progressively dysfunctional OIC works under the de-facto leadership of the Saudis.
Other leaders which are participating in the summit include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani among others.
Pakistan has expressed its keenness to attend the summit as the Foreign Office (FO) in its recent statement has said, “The KL summit would provide Pakistan with an opportunity to exchange views and find solutions to challenges facing the Muslim world, particularly the governance, development, terrorism and Islamophobia”.
“The summit will also provide us an opportunity to foster cooperation in diverse areas with the participating countries”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal while responding to questions about PM Imran’s sudden visit to Saudi Arabia has said, “High-level political exchanges between the two countries are the hallmark of this brotherly bilateral relationship. You have witnessed the high frequency of leadership level exchanges, especially since last August”.
Dr Faisal further said, “The PM has undertaken at least three visits to KSA since May this year. Any further information about any future visit will be shared accordingly.”