He welcomes Saudi’s decision to increase Pakistan’s Hajj quota
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia were a strong bridge between the two countries. The President said this while talking to Imam of Masjid Al-Haram, Imam-e-Kaba Sheikh Abdul-Elah Al-Juhani, who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The president said Pakistan shared bonds of history, culture, faith and values and it greatly valued its relations with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The President pointed out the large Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia considered the kingdom as their second home and they worked there devotedly for its progress and prosperity. Recalling the highly successful visit by the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan, the president stated the prince won the hearts of Pakistani people by his generous offer of support to Pakistani community.
He appreciated the Kingdom for its support to Pakistani pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Hajj and Umrah every year. He also welcomed the Kingdom’s decision of increasing Hajj quota for Pakistanis and inclusion of Pakistan in its Road to Mecca initiative.
He hoped that the project would be extended to all Pakistani airports for Hajj-2020. The president conveyed his sentiments for King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the people of the Kingdom. Imam-e-Kaba said relationships of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not merely diplomatic but based on faith. He added Pakistan was Saudi Arabia’s strength and hearts of two nations beat together. He stressed for frequent exchanges between the two countries in various fields.
Meanwhile, Dr Arif Alvi said Pakistan wanted cordial ties with all the countries and faiths and always desired peace in the region. Addressing a ceremony held here to celebrate Baisakhi, a religious and cultural festival in Sikhism, organized by the PTV, he said having sacrificed a lot during the war against terrorism, Pakistan had learnt the value of peace. The event was attended by a huge number of people from Sikh pilgrims coming from across Pakistan, India and other countries, besides diplomats and senior officers from the Evacuee Trust Property Board. He said Pakistan was now a peaceful and secure country and would continue its efforts for regional peace. He said in his maiden address, PM Imran Khan had talked for peace with India. He said it took long to heal up the damages caused by the wars always incited by the miscalculations.—APP
He said in his address at the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said that in Pakistan everyone would be free to go to the worship place of his faith. The president said Islamophobia had created a divide in the world. The government was resolved to protect the worship places of all faiths, he added. Welcoming Sikhs from across the world to Pakistan, he said they were a peaceful community and urged them to also visit the picturesque Northern Areas of Pakistan.
President Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Sardar Tara Sing said by building Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistan had fulfilled the longstanding desire of the Sikh community. He requested the government of Pakistan to also link Kartarpur Corridor to Nankana Sahib as another goodwill measure for the community. He said the committee had been actively working to uplift the Gurdwaras in Pakistan and hoped that the construction of Kartarpur Corridor would be completed by November this year.
Sardar Ravinder Singh Khalsa, the group leader of the Sikh pilgrims from India, in his address, said it was pleasing that Gurdwaras had been uplifted in Pakistan owing to the government’s efforts. He also lauded the government’s measures to provide security, food and other administrative measures for the Sikh pilgrims. He said both Sikhism and Islam had centuries old bonds and hoped that this relation would continue in the future.
At the event, two documentaries on Baisakhi festival and Kartarpur Corridor were also screened. PTV Word Head Mirza Masood said PTV was committed to bring change and intended to do more for all the communities living in Pakistan.