KARACHI: The report aired by ARY News regarding a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 on standby for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia was turned out to be true.
Earlier, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb denied the ARY News story and termed it ‘fake’. However, the copy of a letter has surfaced in which PM Shehbaz Sharif sought the national airline to arrange Boeing 777 for his visit to Saudi Arabia.
ARY News acquired the copy of the letter sent to the PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by the foreign ministry.
In its letter, the foreign ministry asked the PIA management to put a Boeing 777 aircraft on standby for VVIP’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.
According to the letter, the special plane will depart for Madinah from Islamabad on April 28, Thursday, at 2:00 pm. On Friday, the plane will depart for Jeddah from Madinah on April 29 at 1:30 pm.
The plane will take off from Jeddah to Islamabad on April 30 at 5:00 am early morning.
The foreign ministry has also sought a reply from the national airline regarding the availability of the chartered plane.
Earlier in the day, ARY News reported that a Boeing 777 had been demanded from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the upcoming Saudi Arabia visit of PM Shehbaz Sharif.
’80 seats booked’
After the airing of ARY News report, the PM House staffers contacted PIA officials. Sources told ARY News that 80 seats have been booked for the premier’s visit instead of the whole plane, whereas, the payment of the tickets will be made by the foreign ministry.
PM Sharif’s delegation for foreign visit
It was also learnt that PM Sharif will land in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah along with 16 members of the Sharif family, ARY News reported on Monday, citing sources.
According to sources, the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia will be accompanied by 16 members of the Sharif family. In this regard, the Foreign Office has directed the Pakistani Embassy in Saudi Arabia to make preparations.
The FO has sent a list of Sharif family members to the embassy. Hamza Shahbaz his wife, daughter and maid will also go to Saudi Arabia from Islamabad while Maryam Nawaz, Captain retired Safdar, Sabiha Abbas, Yusuf Abbas his wife and son will also visit KSA.
According to sources, Shehbaz Sharif’s son Suleiman Shahbaz, wife, son and maid will reach Jeddah from Doha. Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz and his wife will reach Jeddah from London.
PM Shehbaz Sharif will be accompanied by 16 coalition members, including party leaders. Fazlur Rehman, Asad Mahmood, Bilawal Bhutto, Shagufta Jamani, Akhtar Mengal, Khalid Magsi, Khalid Maqbool, Ameer Haider Hoti, Shahzain Bugti, Aslam Bhootani, Ali Nawaz Shah, Mohsin Dawar, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Abdul Malik Baloch and Shah Owais Noorani will also accompany Shehbaz Sharif.
Imran Khan‘s former special assistant Tahir Ashrafi will also accompany PM Shehbaz Sharif. The prime minister’s 15 staff members will also accompany Saudi Arabia, while former DG LDA Ahad Cheema and his wife will also accompany him.