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Former PM Nawaz meets Saudi crown prince during visit shrouded in suspense

Former PM Nawaz meets Saudi crown prince during visit shrouded in suspense


Dawn.com
Islamabad
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to return to Pakistan on Tuesday night, his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, has said in a tweet.
The former premier, who has been in Saudi Arabia for the last two days, has also met with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, confirmed Maryam.
An initial meeting between them was earlier reportedly cancelled for 'unknown'reasons, a friend of the Sharif family had told Dawn.
After the meeting, Nawaz left Madinah and went to Jeddah. From there, he's expected to go to Makkah to perform Umrah before returning to Pakistan tonight, his daughter said.
Ahead of Nawaz's return, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif flew back from Jeddah to Lahore on Tuesday morning. Nawaz had arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to hold meetings with the royal family. His younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, had arrived in the Kingdom three days earlier.
The Punjab government had tried to explain the Sharifs' hurried tour of the Kingdom, saying:
"Shahbaz Sharif met the Saudi crown prince and discussed matters related to Saudi Arabia's absence from the summit on Al-Quds in Turkey." Official sources had said that Shahbaz Sharif also met the Saudi intelligence chief.
The PML-N had said that Nawaz, too, was visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss"matters of national interest", denying that the former premier was in the Kingdom for personal reasons.
However, despite the clarification, opposition parties remained suspicious about Nawaz's visit and interpreted it as a step towards winning the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) for the embattled Sharifs, who are facing multiple cases in courts and challenges in the political field.
At the time of Nawaz Sharif's departure, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah had objected to the Sharifs' visit, saying it was tantamount to humiliating a nuclear power by inviting foreigners to interfere in its internal affairs.

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