On the first day of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman trip to Pakistan, the country's Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the kingdom's leaders to “ease the hardships” of labourers in the country, and to “look upon them as your own people.”
“These are very special people for us. This is something very close to me. And I would request you to do something for them to ease their hardships,” Khan said last night during a dinner reception at the Prime Minister’s house on the occasion of the Crown Prince’s visit to Islamabad.
In response, Mohammed Bin Salman placed his hand on his chest and touched Khan’s hand, saying, “Rest assured. We will not say no to Pakistan.”
Mohammed Bin Salman is on a two-day trip to Pakistan, his first visit to the South Asian country and also his first trip East of Saudi Arabia.
The two-day visit has so far seen both countries agree to $20 billion in the first phase of agreements signed across fuel and energy, with more expected to be agreed on today.
Mohammed Bin Salman’s Islamabad visit is the first leg of a journey that will also seear him visit India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Khan’s address last night was rare for its content. No prior head of state of a South Asian economy has publicly asked a leader of a Gulf economy, where millions of blue-collar workers toil in often taxing conditions, to try and aid their cause.
“There are 2.5 million Pakistanis working in the country, some white collar workers but mostly labourers, and another 3,000 in jail… and I just want to say that these are people who leave their families and go away only to send home a livelihood for them. They don’t see their families for a year sometimes," said Khan.
"These are poor people who work hard, and imagine leaving family and children behind to send money back. It is something that would please the almighty. This is a special request for them that they sometimes face hardships and we would like you to look upon them as your own people.
“We have a close affinity to Saudi Arabia, your people are like our brothers, and we would like you to have the same feeling for them,” he added.
Khan’s unscripted request drew quick reaction from the Saudi Crown Prince, who turned to an emotional Khan, saying, “Anything we can do, we will deliver.”For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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