Pak PM leaves for official visit to Saudi Arabia

During the visit, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will meet Saudi King in Jeddah and perform `Umra`.

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Sunday left for a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia - his first foreign trip since he assumed office last month.

During the visit, he will meet Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in Jeddah and perform `Umra`.

The Premier will also offer his condolences to the Saudi King on the death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Ashraf, who replaced Yousuf Raza Gilani as the premier last month, will also meet the Pakistani community living in Saudi Arabia.

Talking to reporters at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi before his departure, the Premier said he would discuss matters of mutual interest with the Saudi King.

Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Shah accompanied Ashraf.

Saudi Arabia has close brotherly ties with Pakistan and gives importance to Pakistan`s government and its people, Ashraf said.

The two countries are bound by religious and spiritual ties and Saudi Arabia has always come to Pakistan`s assistance in its hour of need, he said.

Ashraf`s visit comes close on the heels of Saudi Arabia`s decision to deport Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, a key suspect in the Mumbai attacks, to India.

The deportation caused widespread concern in Pakistan`s security establishment as this was the first time Saudi Arabia had handed over a high-profile terror suspect to India.