Saudi king delegates deputy PM to oversee Hajj
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia`s King Abdullah has appointed the second deputy prime minister to oversee the hajj pilgrimage, the state news agency reported on Saturday, a day after doctors ordered rest for the ruler due to a slipped disc.
Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, also the Interior Minister, is to oversee the annual hajj, when some two million Muslim pilgrims will gather in the holy city of Mecca.
King Abdullah, who took charge in the key US ally in 2005, is estimated to be 86 or 87-years-old.
Prince Nayef, thought to be about 76, was appointed second deputy prime minister in 2009, a move which analysts said places him in a strong position to become crown prince or king one day.
Nayef, a half-brother of the king and full-brother of the crown prince, has been in Mecca this week, supervising security arrangements for the hajj.
Crown Prince Sultan, the king`s half-brother who is also in his 80s, has been abroad for unspecified health treatment for much of the last two years and diplomats in Riyadh say he has not resumed full duties. He is outside the country after leaving for what was described in August as a holiday in Morocco.
Political stability in the monarchy is of global concern. The Gulf Arab state controls more than a fifth of the world`s crude reserves, is a vital US ally in the region, a major holder of dollar assets and home to the biggest Arab bourse.
Analysts say the king`s appointment of Nayef to the post could avert a power vacuum in the event of serious health problems afflicting the king and crown prince.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Anti-Romeo squad launched: Has moral policing started in UP?
- What Muslims think about Ram Mandir issue?
- Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad barred from flying after his assault on AI staffer
- Martyrs' Day: Nation remembers Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for their sacrifice
- London terrorist attack leaves five dead, including police officer
- Hukumdev Narain Yadav to be new Vice-President of India?
- 400 Trinamool Congress members including many TMC stalwarts join BJP in Tripura
- Unable to meet educational expenses, Muslim girl writes to PM Narendra Modi – Know what happened next
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931 – This is how PM Modi paid tribute today
- Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Prateek, his daughter-in-law Aparna meet UP CM Yogi Adityanath - Know why