Islamabad: Pakistan Parliamentary delegation to Saudi Arabia, led by Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq returned home after making major headways in improving the crucial bilateral relations between the two brotherly Islamic countries.
The delegation comprising 10-members of the National Assembly representing all the political parties in the House, and belonging to all four provinces and FATA, visited Saudi Arabia on the invitation of Chairman of the Saudi Majlis al-Shura Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh. This was the first bilateral parliamentary visit by Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
The most prominent outcome of the visit is the Saudi assurance to deal sympathetically with the issue of non-registered labour from Pakistan, which risks deportation on charges of illegal entry into the Saudi Kingdom.
With a sizeable number of over 1.6 million Pakistani expatriates generating over 30% of the total remittances, amounting US$ 4.1 billion, such extreme step from the Saudi monarchy would be fatal for the Pakistani economy.
However, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq convincingly took up the issue in his numerous meetings with the top Saudi leadership, which included an audience with Crown Prince and Defense Minister His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier, Advisor and Special Envoy of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Madina Munawwara.
The Saudi side warmly received Pakistan’s Speaker, along-with his delegation and assured him of their complete support in amicably resolving the matter. It was informed to the Pakistani delegation that a large number of illegal workers had been allowed to get their status legalized under “Amnesty Scheme”, while the remaining workers would also be given sympathetic consideration.
The Saudi leadership also reiterated its unflinching support to Pakistan on its principled stand on Kashmir and on the early settlement of the dispute as per the aspersions of the Kashmiri people.
In his meetings with the Chairman of the Saudi Majlis al-Shura Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq explored possibilities of expanding relationship to diverse fields between the brotherly countries.
In this regard, both sides agreed to boost meaningful cooperation in the field of parliamentary affairs and foster high-level parliamentary exchanges by facilitating both Parliaments in sharing and learning from each other’s experiences.
The Chairman Saudi Shura agreed to create a Pak-Saudi Friendship Group in the Saudi legislature under him and appointed Dr. Abdullah, a senior Shura Member as its President.
The Friendship Group was assigned to keep a close follow-up of all issues, concerning Pakistan’s interest, especially the case of the pending registration of Pakistani workers. It may be recalled that a similar Group already exists in Pakistan’s National Assembly.
The two presiding officers also agreed to extend cooperation for automation, training of Secretarial staff and strengthening of Secretariat.
Although both the brotherly countries have different political systems of government, however, immense potential of cooperation exists between the two legislatures.
The Saudi Shura has made remarkable achievement in automation of its records and in creating paperless computer-based environment.
The Saudi Shura for its initiative has been internationally acclaimed and has been awarded for having topmost automated infrastructure wherein manuscripts, legislation and other documents are available in electronic form.
Subsequent to materialization of the concord of cooperation, the National Assembly would be able to create similar paperless environment, reducing the expenditure on stationery for which Speaker National Assembly has been vying since his election to the exalted slot.