Saudi Crown Prince honouring Bajwa. Image Credit: SPA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa is awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellent Class, an order of merit named after Saudi Arabia’s founder.

The army chief who is currently on a visit to the Kingdom was presented with the award of the Saudi Arabian government by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who is also the Saudi Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister.

Senior officials of Pakistan and Saudi Armies and the Ministries of Defence were also present on the occasion. The official ceremony took place in the Royal Palace and a citation was also read out before conferring of the award.

Consolidating bond of friendship

According to the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz conferred the medal upon COAS General Bajwa in recognition of his “distinguished efforts in consolidating and strengthening bonds of friendship and joint cooperation and developing Saudi-Pakistani relations.”

According to the Saudi media, the chief of army staff and the Saudi crown prince met on Saturday in Jeddah to review bilateral ties, especially in the field of military.

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan to enhance defence ties: ISPR

Pakistan army’s public relations wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also issued a statement regarding the tour of General Bajwa to Saudi Arabia.

“During the visit, COAS called on Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of KSA and General Fayyadh Bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Chief of General Staff (CGS) Saudi Armed Forces at Jeddah,” the statement issued on Sunday said.

The COAS thanked the Saudi leadership for the honour saying Pakistan valued its historical and brotherly relations with the Kingdom and acknowledged its unique place in the Islamic world.

“Both sides agreed upon enhancing defence cooperation in the fields of joint training, air defence, counter-terrorism and communication/information domain,” the ISPR statement added.

“They also agreed to further enhance cordial relations and deep spirit of brotherhood into an enduring strategic partnership, being vital players in the region with significant responsibility towards unity of Muslim Ummah,” the ISPR added.

Order of King Abdul Aziz

As per the Saudi media, the Order of King Abdulaziz is considered the highest civilian honour in the Kingdom.

The order was officially inaugurated by King Faisal on March 20, 1971, it said, adding that the earlier version of the order was called ‘Great Chain of Badr’.

The medal has been presented to several world leaders, including former US president Donald Trump, former US President Barack Obama, former French President Francois Hollande, Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.