Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visits the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. Image Credit: Photo courtesy of The Saudi news agency SPA

Cairo: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have agreed to intensify contacts between government and private sector officials in both allied countries to “elevate their relations to wider prospects,” according to a joint statement marking an official visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to the kingdom.

Khan arrived in the kingdom on Friday on an official visit at an invitation from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had visited Pakistan in 2019.

The Crown Prince and the Pakistani premier this week held talks on ways of boosting relations between the two countries and a range of regional and international issues. “During the talks, they stressed the depth of brotherly, historical relations binding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the joint statement said.

Welfare state

The Crown Prince underlined the kingdom’s support for Khan’s vision to turn Pakistan into a welfare state, it added.

Both sides discussed ways of enhancing economic links between the two countries by exploring investment fields in view of the Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious development scheme, and Pakistan’s development priorities.

“This is in addition to increasing cooperation in the fields of energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture,” the statement said.

Both sides, according to the statement, expressed satisfaction with their “solid” military and security links, and agreed on further cooperation to fulfil the two countries’ joint objectives.

“In the constructive spirit of their official talks the two sides reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self-determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions,” the statement said.

They, moreover, supported efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to Yemen’s crisis, condemning an upsurge of attacks by the Yemeni Al Houthi militia into the Saudi territory.

Ensure peace

The Crown Prince, meanwhile, welcomed a recent ceasefire understanding reached between Pakistan and India at the Line of Control based on a 2003 understanding between the two neighbours. “The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region,” said the statement, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan maintain close and time-honoured ties that have recently developed to the level of strategic partnership. Khan had visited Saudi Arabia in 2018 and 2019.

Around 2 million Pakistanis are living in Saudi Arabia, becoming one of the largest foreign communities in the kingdom, according to a Saudi estimate.