Pakistani, Saudi officials discuss bolstering ties via new media

Pakistan's Additional Secretary Information Shafqat Jalil spoke to the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information, Dr Awad bin Saleh Al Awad to discuss cooperation in the fields of media and culture. (Photo courtesy: @DanyalGilani/Twitter)
Updated 25 June 2018
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Pakistani, Saudi officials discuss bolstering ties via new media

  • Saudi Minister expressed keenness to evolve Pak-Saudi relationship by way of media exchanges

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday discussed ways to bolster bilateral ties by way of increased cooperation in the fields of media and culture.
Shafqat Jalil, additional secretary in Pakistan’s Information Ministry, discussed with Saudi Culture and Information Minister Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad the importance of new media in the lives of youths, and exploring ways to tap into that.
“We have an independent and vibrant media, and in order to interact and engage with it — the Pakistani and Western mixture of it — we’d have to explore the entire gamut,” Jalil told Arab News.
“Our youths aren’t aware of the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia, and to take forward our relations it’s important to involve new media, be it Facebook, Western media, Twitter etc.,” he said.
“Media personalities from Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television (PTV) will be extended an invitation for Hajj.”
When asked about a tentative timeline for projects and media exchanges, Jalil said Al-Awad is keen to start but is waiting for Pakistan’s new government to settle in. Al-Awad accepted Jalil’s invitation to visit Pakistan. 
On Saturday, Jalil called for the unconditional restoration of the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the withdrawal of rebel forces from territories seized by them, including the capital Sanaa.
“Pakistan supports all efforts for peace in Yemen, and urged all parties to return to the negotiation table,” Jalil said.


Pakistan gets ready to woo Saudi crown prince

Updated 15 February 2019
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Pakistan gets ready to woo Saudi crown prince

  • Pakistan is collecting 3,500 pigeons and colorful balloons to release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Crown Prince
  • Pakistan expects to sign multiple investment deals and other agreements during the two-day visit

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was rescheduling flights, blocking-off luxury hotels, and — according to one report Friday — collecting 3,500 pigeons and colorful balloons to release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Islamabad is hoping to sign a raft of investment deals and other agreements during the two-day visit, which begins Saturday and will include talks with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Banners heralding the crown prince were already lining the streets of the capital Friday, while the Express Tribune newspaper reported that authorities were trying to catch so many pigeons for a welcome ceremony that they were forced to collect birds from other cities.
Police, the armed forces, and the Saudi Royal Guards will provide security, a senior Islamabad police official told AFP.
The capital’s “red zone,” which houses Parliament House and the Presidency, was to be sealed off, while civil aviation authorities have been told to reschedule flights during the prince’s arrival and departure.
Authorities in the capital said two five-star hotels had been ordered to cancel all advance bookings as the rooms will be reserved for the prince’s entourage.
Earlier in the week local media reported that the crown prince’s personal belongings — including luxury vehicles and his own gym — were flown to Pakistan in two C130 airplanes.
The visit came as regional tensions spiked after neighboring India accused Islamabad of harboring militants behind a deadly attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
At least 41 paramilitary troops were killed in a suicide blast Thursday, with Indian media reporting that the Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to sign a record investment package with Pakistan, including a $10-billion refinery and oil complex for the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman said Islamabad is seeking to sign a number of other deals, including one “combating organized crime.”
Khan has been courting its Gulf allies for months as he seeks to stave off an ongoing balance of payments crisis and reduce the size of any potential bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have together offered Islamabad some $30 billion in investment and loans.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are also participating in talks with the US and other countries seeking to bring the Taliban to the table for peace negotiations with Kabul after more than 17 years of war.
The Taliban have claimed their representatives will visit Islamabad on Monday, after Salman leaves.