[Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan praying inside Masjid-e-Nabwi on Tuesday September 18, 2018.]
Riyadh: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday arrived in Saudi Arabia to a warm, unprecedented and rarely seen public welcome by Pakistani expatriates who cheered and greeted him calling "the leader of New Pakistan".
Imran Khan is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood.
Upon arrival at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Prime Minister Imran Khan was received by Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Madina and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hisham bin Siddique along with other officials.
After arriving in Saudi Arabia, walking down from the special aircraft barefoot, Imran Khan and his delegation went straight to Masjid-e-Nabawi - the Prophet's Mosque, and offered Maghreb prayers at Riyadhul Jannah.
Saudi authorities opened the doors of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) final resting place for the visiting leader.
From Madinah, Imran Khan reached Jeddah and drove to Makkah to perform Umrah and offer prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The authorities here opened the door of the Holy Kaaba and Imran Khan and his colleagues spent more than half hour praying inside the Holy Kaaba.
First in Masjid-e-Nabawi and later in Masjid-e-Haram Makkah at both the places a large number of Pakistani expatriates and those who was in the Kingdom to perform Umrah lined up to greet Imran Khan. They also shouted Imran Khan Zinda Baad and Prime Minister of New Pakistan Khush Aamdeed as he entered the Holy Mosque.
Leaders, heads of states and dignitaries regularly visit Masjid-e-Nababwi and the Grand Mosque in Makkah. However, seldom has someone seen the kind of public welcome that was extended to Imran Khan on Tuesday.
[Imran Khan outside the Grand Mosque in Makkah after performing Umrah in a file photo.]
The slogan shouting inside Masjid-e-Nabawi and Masjid-e-Haram Makkaht ul Mukarrema is being criticised as such 'shor sharaba' is not allowed inside in any mosque. But, supporters say it was unplanned and out of emotions, and was the result of high hope the Pakistanis have from the newly formed government led by Imran Khan.
This is Imran Khan's first foreign visit after assuming office. In Saudi Arabia, Imran Khan will meet Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman. From Saudi Arabia, Imran Khan will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Pakistan is curently under economic crisis, and Imran Khan’s decision to choose Saudi Arabia as the destination of his first official visit abroad has given rise to speculations that Pakistan will seek Riyadh’s economic assistance instead of going for a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund.
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