RIYADH: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday returned to Pakistan after their meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
“The Sharif brothers had a 1.5 hour-long meeting with the Saudi crown prince late Monday night,” said a statement issued by the Sharif family’s spokesman.
According to reports, Nawaz left for Madinah and visited Roza-e-Rasool (PBUH) after the meeting. Afterwards, he visited Makkah for performing Umrah.
The ousted PM’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz had tweeted the news of her fathers return to Pakistan after his successful performance of Umrah. She further shared pictures of him offering salam at Jannat-ul-Baqee.
After the opposition’s constant criticism of the brothers’ multiple Saudi visits, Shehbaz who had returned after his six-day visit had stated that he went to Saudi Arabia after being invited to Umrah.
“Saudi Arabia is among the best friends of Pakistan. It has helped Pakistan without any conditions and has been there in times of difficulty. Both countries have blind faith in each other,” he had said while addressing the media at the inauguration of the Pakistan Kidney And Liver Institute (PKLI).
Citing sources, the media had reported that Shehbaz had held a meeting with the crown prince twice within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Punjab government spokesperson Mohammad Ahmed Khan had condemned the allegations levelled against Shehbaz on his visit to Saudi Arabia, saying the statements being spread were baseless.
According to the spokesperson, Saudi Arabia is an ally of Pakistan and it was an honour for Shehbaz to be sent an aircraft from there. Mohammad Ahmed added that to criticise the Saudi government or the chief minister on the move was tantamount to being against national interests.
The Punjab government spokesperson had said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have brotherly ties which no “negative propaganda” can break.
Opposition parties have questioned the motive behind visits by the Sharif brothers to Saudi Arabia, and have asked if an agreement is being negotiated to save the Sharifs.
On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari commented on the Sharif brothers’ visit to Saudi Arabia, saying an agreement might be “cooking” in the country.
“No one knows what is cooking. There are a couple of rumours surrounding their visits to Saudi Arabia,” he observed while talking to the media.
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