Pakistan's Khan prays at Prophet's Mosque and meets crown prince on visit to Saudi Arabia

Pakistan's Khan prays at Prophet's Mosque and meets crown prince on visit to Saudi Arabia
Pakistan's Khan prays at Prophet's Mosque and meets crown prince on visit to Saudi Arabia

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina on Saturday as he arrived for a short visit to the kingdom to meet senior officials including Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

In his meeting with Prince Mohammed, the pair discussed the regional situation, Mr Khan’s office said in a brief statement on the visit. “During the meeting, they reviewed aspects of joint cooperation,” a statement from the Saudi Press Agency reported.

He was greeted on arrival by Deputy Governor of Medina, Waheb Al Hosli, and then travelled to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina where he was photographed praying.

He then travelled on to Riyadh where he was met at the airport by the city’s governor, Prince Faisal Bin Bandar.

Pakistani Foreign Office said the one-day visit was part of “regular exchanges” between the leaders of the two countries and added that “consultations will cover bilateral matters and recent developments in the regional context.”

The visit marks the fourth trip by Pakistan’s leader to the kingdom this year. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Riyadh earlier this week to met his counterpart, Prince Farhan Bin Abdullah, to discuss relations.

Saudi Arabia views Pakistan as a key military partner, one which the Kingdom has historically been reliant on for training and troops.

Although Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have had good relations for decades, Mr Khan has sought to build closer ties since taking office in 2018 as looks for Gulf assistance in tackling his country’s dire economic situation.

In February, Prince Mohammed announced $20 billion (Dh73.6 billion) in investments into the Pakistani economy during a visit with the possibility for more funds. This followed a $3 million injection to ease the country’s financial woes.

When he took office last August, Mr Khan was faced with a balance of payments crisis with the value of Pakistan’s rupee losing around of a fifth of its value against the dollar since 2017. The country’s foreign reserves had dipped leading to concerns about the ability to cover the cost of imports.

The former cricketer won on a pledge to reform the economy with a 100-day agenda of work for his first months in office.

The plan involved cracking down on corruption and returning embezzled funds, cutting benefits for government officials and reforming the economy.

Mr Khan has also undertaken mediation efforts, including a recent visit to Iran, at the request of US President Donald in a bid to defuse tensions in the Gulf after a series of attacks on shipping in area and attacks on Saudi oil processing facilities in September.

He held talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and other high-ranking officials.

The purpose of his Iran visit in October, according to Pakistan's government, was to "promote peace and security in the region."

Washington blames Tehran for being behind the attacks, a claim Tehran denies.

Updated: December 15, 2019 12:58 PM

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