Pakistan’s Defense Minister Declares Commitment to Riyadh, Slams Hajj “internationalization” Debate

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has slammed the media reports calling for the internationalization of the Muslim holy pilgrimage known by its Arabic name Hajj.

Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Dastgir said that Pakistan is determined not to be misled by such stratagems. The Minister believes that the custodianship of the two holy Mosques is a sacred trust that the Kingdom has perfectly executed and therefore his country wished for a continuity in that regard.

Dastgir’s comments came on the sidelines of a keynote speech that he gave at the inauguration of the Pakistan edition of Arab News at the Islamabad Marriott, the capital city of Pakistan on Thursday evening February 8th, 2017.

Dastgir believes that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan has “turned a new page,” going beyond the “traditional friendship” both nations have enjoyed over the past several decades.

The Pakistan Defense Minister said the relationship between the two countries that had been “stuck in the eighties” is now being transformed “into a more serious and determined partnership not only in the field of defense but also in the realm of economics and trade to enhance, provide and expand bilateral ties.”

The Pakistani Cabinet heavyweight reveals that his country intends to be an important part of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 agenda, the brainchild of his Highness, the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

The Minister is convinced that it was imperative for Islamic countries to start working toward their self reliance so that they can defend and secure themselves without relying on other countries or entities for their safety and security.

Speaking earlier to an audience of diplomats, foreign dignitaries, academics and journalists who attended the launch of, the Pakistan Defense Minister welcomed the arrival of the media outlet to Islamabad.

“I’m delighted that the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who have been a steadfast partner of Pakistan throughout our existence, in new and very interesting and exciting ways through Arab News, have decided to become part of this emerging, remerging, rebirth of the Pakistan story.”

Minister Dastgir congratulated the Pakistan team that was launching this new edition of Arab News .He hailed the editors, most especially the senior ones for taking a far-sighted and important decision to become part of the success of the Pakistan story.

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