COAS Gen Asim Munir visits Holy Kaaba

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, who is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, visited Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah where the doors of the Holy Kaaba were exclusively opened for him.

In pictures and video clips posted on social media on Sunday, the army chief could be seen walking out of the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Another video clip shared on social media showed Gen Asim Munir visiting the Masjid-e-Nabwi, Islam’s second-holiest mosque, as Saudi security personnel escorted the military commander.

The army chief embarked on his first trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this week as Pakistan is seeking another financial bailout package from the kingdom to shore up its depleting foreign reserves.

The army chief will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from January 4 to 10, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

“The COAS will be meeting the senior leadership of both brotherly countries to discuss matters of mutual interest, military-to-military cooperation and bilateral relations, focusing on security-related subjects,” read an official handout from the military’s media wing.

The visit, first by Gen Asim as the army chief, comes at a crucial juncture when Pakistan is facing yet another balance of payments crisis. The country’s foreign reserves have come down to $5.8 billion, barely enough to cover one month of import bill.

With the IMF programme hanging in the balance, Pakistan is hoping to secure another financial assistance package from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to avoid a default.

Observers believe that the army chief’s visit will play a crucial rule and may pave the way for the much-needed financial assistance. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would soon extend the financial package.

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