Saudi Arabia is grappling with the formidable task of reinventing its economy, steering away from the dependence on oil that has long defined its financial landscape.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday paid his visit to Saudi Arabia there he met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh during which the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and the overall security situation in the region.
According to a statement by Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, the meeting took place after Khan visited Roza-e-Rasool in Madina and offered prayers, The Express Tribune reported.
Khan’s trip comes on the heels of a whirlwind tour of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who, accompanied by the ISI chief, visited Riyadh on Wednesday and believed to have laid the ground for the premier’s visit.
According to the diplomatic sources, the flurry of visits by Pakistani civil and military leadership to Saudi Arabia and Iran over the past few weeks suggested that there might be “some breakthrough” in the diplomatic manoeuvres initiated by Islamabad.
This is PM Khan’s fourth visit to Saudi Arabia since May.
An Arab source disclosed the visit has been recently planned after signals from Riyadh that it was not happy with Khan’s decision to attend a Kuala Lumpur summit from December 18-20.
The Kuala Lumpur summit is the brainchild of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Other leaders participating in the summit are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
Pakistan has since been making efforts to facilitate dialogue between the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan made a stopover in Saudi Arabia on his way to the annual UN General Assembly session in New York in September to meet Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
In New York, he held meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani to defuse tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.
In October, Prime Minister Imran paid his visit to Iran while in November Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also undertook a visit to Iran and met its top civil and military leadership.
Tensions have been brewing between Tehran and Riyadh since the missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month. Both Saudi Arabia and the US have blamed Iran for the drone strikes, claimed by the Houthi rebels. However, Tehran has strongly rebutted the charges.
Pakistan and certain other countries have been trying to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan traditionally has strong relations with Saudi Arabia but also maintains friendly ties with Iran.