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Shehbaz Sharif departs for Saudi Arabia after party nomination for PM office

RIYADH: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday left for Saudi Arabia to hold ‘important’ meetings with Saudi officials, besides performing Umra.

Shehbaz Sharif is also expected to meet Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman during his visit to the Kingdom.

In an official press release, it was said that the chief minister will hold key meetings in the Kingdom. However, no further details were shared about the nature of meetings.

The visit comes at a time when ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif  has announced that his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, will be the party’s candidate for the prime minister’s office.

It has been learnt that Shehbaz travelled in a special plane sent by the Kingdom for him. Sending an special plane to receive the Punjab chief minister signifies that he is acceptable to the Saudi Kingdom for the top office in Pakistan, some political analysts opined.

However, the PML-N officials are calling Saudi visit of Punjab’s chief minister, his personal visit.

Earlier this week, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Admiral Nawaf Ahmad Al Maliki along with envoys of around two dozen countries had called on the chief minister in Lahore.

The Sharifs used to enjoy good relations with Saudi Arabia, who had rescued them from military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2000 and hosted the family during its seven-year exile in Jeddah.

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