JEDDAH: A communique set to be issued after the meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to see “good news” for the whole Muslim world.
Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said the prime minister will arrive in Jeddah on Friday and will perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“He will then meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as top Saudi officials and scholars, including the imams of the Two Holy Mosques as well as chiefs of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim World League (MWL),” Ashrafi said.
The chairman was speaking at a press conference at the General Consulate of Pakistan on Wednesday, ahead of the official visit of Imran Khan on an invitation from the Saudi crown prince.
Ashrafi is also the special representative of the prime minister to the Middle East.
“After the meeting, a strong final communique will be issued, and it will see glad tidings, not only to the peoples of the two countries, but also to the whole Muslim world,” he said.
Ashrafi expressed his gratitude to the crown prince for the invitation.
Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the blessed last 10 days of Ramadan.
“In such a timing, the giants sit together. With Pakistan possessing a nuclear force, it is the biggest army in the Muslim world, while Saudi Arabia has the most important things in the whole life in this world — Makkah and Madinah, where the Two Holy Mosques are located. It is the homeland of the House of God and the Prophet’s Mosque,” Ashrafi added.
He pointed out that the two sides will sign a number of treaties and agreements, most important of which will focus on the Saudi Green and Green Middle East initiatives, and the Clean, Green Pakistan Movement, which Khan launched in October 2018.
Senior Pakistani ministers are accompanying the prime minister and some of them have already arrived, the special envoy said.
“This visit is not the first and will not be the last. It is a continuation of past visits between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who are like a body and its soul.”
He said that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is neither diplomatic nor political. “We have a relationship of respect, love, brotherhood and shared Islamic faith,” said Ashrafi, adding: “As the chief of the Pakistan Army said a few months ago, the security of Saudi Arabia, its stability and its leaders are all red lines.”
The Pakistanis love Al-Saud. They deeply respect those who serve the Two Holy Mosques. We are, in fact, proud to have strong ties with them.”
Ashrafi, who was speaking in Arabic, pointed out that Pakistan, as a nuclear power, is cooperating with Saudi Arabia on all levels, including trade, economy, culture, tourism and religion.
“A media reporter has asked me whether there was any dispute or disagreement between Saud Arabia and Pakistan. My answer was that a body never disagrees with its soul. I would like to say again to all friends and enemies … Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a soul-body relationship,” Ashrafi said.
Speaking about Islam as a moderate religion, Ashrafi — a recipient of the OIC’s Universal Award for his struggle to eradicate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Pakistan and across the Muslim world — said his country and Saudi Arabia have a clear plan against terrorism, extremism and seditions (fitnah).
“Islam is the religion of respect and brotherhood. The crown prince’s vision is quite clear in this regard. It is not accepted from anyone to use the name of Islam for terror and immoderate purposes. It is a chance here to reiterate that Islam has no connection at all with terrorism or extremism,” he said.
During his visit, the prime minister will discuss Islamophobia and the respect of prophets with the secretary-general of the OIC and his MWL counterpart, Asharfi said.
He thanked King Salman for the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Mosque, which will be built at the heart of Islamabad.
“We have the King Faisal Mosque, which reflects the two countries’ strong religious ties,” he said.
The King Salman Mosque “will be another monument of the Saudi-Pakistan friendship and lead to better progress in the bilateral relations of the two countries,” he added.
Khan’s political communications aide, Dr Shahbaz Gill, said that the relationship between the two countries does not need any introduction or reaffirmation.
Gill said the visit of Khan “is very important in the regional situation. But most importantly in regard with the issue of Islamophobia and blasphemy against our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
He added that the visit “is also important in terms of the prime minister’s vision and understanding on the environment and the passion of the Saudi crown prince for the same thing.”