RIYADH – Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday had a quick meeting with Turkey Prime Minister Binali Yildirim during his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
Both the leaders warmly shook hands and hugged each other. They also inquired about each other and expressed good wishes.
The CM tweeted a picture with Yildrim, saying that the two met at the entrance of Masjid-e-Nabwi (SAW) in Medina.
Just had the pleasure of meeting H.E. brother Binali Yildirim, Prime Minister of Turkey, at the entrance of Masjid e Nabwi (SAW) in Madina Munawwara. pic.twitter.com/nAJsvbLwNG
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 28, 2017
Soon after the meeting, a statement from the PML-N sources quoted the CM saying that the Muslim world (Ummah) has united over the status of Jerusalem, or Al-Quds.
“Pakistan and Turkey are brotherly Islamic countries, and the Muslim world has unanimously opposed the American decision on the issue of occupied Bait-ul-Muqaddas (Jerusalem),” the CM said.
Shehbaz also lauded the role of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for holding an emergency session of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Ankara to condemn US President Donald Trump’s move to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem violating the UN charter.
He added that every Muslim has a strong spiritual attachment towards sacred places situated in Saudi Arabia.
Chief Minister Punjab @CMShehbaz offered Fajar prayer at Masjid e Nabwi (SAW) in Madina Munawwara.
CM Punjab reached Saudi Arabia last night and is scheduled to meet Saudi leadership and senior government officials. pic.twitter.com/XOGRrwrAMk
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) December 28, 2017
He is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, among other senior Saudi officials.
Shehbaz, the brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, arrived in Medina after leaving Pakistan on Wednesday in a special plane sent by Riyadh.
However, according to prime minister’s adviser Mussadiq Malik, Shehbaz is on a personal visit to the Kingdom and will also perform Umrah.
The development comes after PML-N President Nawaz Sharif nominated Shehbaz as the candidate for the prime minister in the next elections.
Nawaz announced this decision after a meeting of PML-N bigwigs at his Jati Umra residence. He praised the chief minister for his hard-working nature and devotion to public service.
Analysts say if the Saudi prince is sending his jet and inviting Shehbaz especially, then it is a clear message that beyond Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz is acceptable to Saudi Arabia.
‘Another NRO in making’
Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have slammed Sharif’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for holding important meetings.
PPP Central Information Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor alleged that Shehbaz went to Saudi Arabia for getting another National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to escape accountability process.
Separately, PTI leader Mehmoodur Rashid said it was strange that Shehbaz preferred to go to Saudi Arabia instead of calling a Punjab Assembly (PA) session. He maintained the Sharif brothers were trying to find an escape and wanted to get NRO from Saudi Arabia to hide their corruption, adding “the PTI will not let them do so”.
PTI’s Chaudhry Sarwar also slammed Shehbaz’s visit to KSA. He said he wondered how the chief minister could go on a foreign visit on a Saudi plane.
“Is there no right of other provinces’ chief ministers to have a foreign visit with the prime minister,” he asked.
Shehbaz Sharif is expected to fly off to London from Saudi Arabia.