Newly-elected Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia and China in his first foreign trip after taking charge, a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader said, Express Tribune reported.
Traditionally, a Pakistan Prime Minister's first foreign visit has often been to Saudi Arabia and China due to the country's strategic relationship with both nations.
According to sources, during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Shehbaz Sharif will perform Umrah and meet the Saudi leadership. The Sharif family maintains a close personal relationship with the Saudi Royal family as the latter played a central role in ensuring the safe exit of Nawaz Sharif after the October 1999 coup.
Saudi Arabia in the past had extended financial bailout packages to successive Pakistani governments. In fact, Riyadh gave former Prime Minister Imran Khan's government a $6 billion bailout package.
After the Saudi visit, Sharif is also expected to travel to China. The PM is known to enjoy a good reputation among the Chinese leadership because of his administrative qualities. During the previous PML-N tenure, Sharif played a central role in accelerating the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Express Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, the Chinese state media has welcomed the election of Sharif and stated that given his family's previous engagements with China, the new Prime Minister would prove better for the Pakistan-China relationship than Imran Khan, the report said.