ISLAMABAD: Lauding the close friendship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the two countries have maintained cordial and brotherly ties marked by commonalities on all issues of mutual interest at the regional and international level.
Speaking to Ambassador-designate to Saudi Arabia, Khan Hasham, in the capital today, he said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other during testing times, Radio Pakistan reported.
The people of Pakistan have a deep emotional attachment to the Saudi Kingdom being the custodian of the two holy mosques, the premier added.
PM Sharif insisted that his government was focused on improving Hajj operations and directed the ambassador to personally supervise arrangements for the forthcoming Hajj this year.
He asked the Pakistani envoy to pay special attention to the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia with a particular focus on easing access to consular services.
Prime Minister Nawaz also advised the ambassador to work with utmost dedication for the welfare of Pakistani diaspora and pay attention to the education of their children.
The federal cabinet on April 12 approved the Hajj Policy 2017 that would allow around 179,210 applicants from Pakistan to perform Hajj this year after an agreement was signed with Saudi Arabia for enhanced quota.
In the past, Pakistan’s Hajj quota was fixed at 143,368 applicants. The quota was reduced in 2013 due to expansion work in the grand mosque.