Saudi media minister meets Pakistan’s top civil, military brass

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Saudi Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al Awwad, left, called on Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Quraishi in Islamabad on Sept. 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Press Information Department)
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Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar, third left, presenting a memento to H.E. Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Media, in Islamabad on Sept. 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Press Information Department)
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Saudi Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al Awwad, center, visited Pakistan's state run television during his visit. (Photo courtesy: Press Information Department)
Updated 09 September 2018
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Saudi media minister meets Pakistan’s top civil, military brass

  • Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad's visit further cements “historic ties”
  • Relations between Islamabad and Riyadh are moving beyond security and people-to-people contact, analysts say

ISLAMABAD: After attending the swearing-in ceremony for the 13th president of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s Media Minister, Dr. Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad, engaged with the country’s top political and military leadership, as part of his three-day visit, on Sunday.
In addition to meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Al-Awwad also engaged with several government officials and media representatives to discuss the way forward in strengthening bilateral ties.
“The minister conveyed the message of felicitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also invited the prime minister to visit Saudi Arabia,” Pakistan’s state-run radio said, sharing details of the meeting, on its website.
Al-Awwad also “reaffirmed KSA’s full support to Pakistan in its efforts toward peace and stability,” a statement released by the Inter Services Public Relations, read.
On Saturday, Al-Awwad had called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, with Qureshi “emphasizing on the need to activate all existing institutional mechanisms between the two countries, to take bilateral relations to the next level.”
Qureshi also assured Al-Awwad of Pakistan’s continued support to the Kingdom in realizing its Vision 2030. “He invited Saudi investors to invest in Pakistan, which after completion of the CPEC, will become a market for a billion plus people,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Analysts say the plan is not far-fetched and possible because of Pakistan’s “historic relations with Saudi Arabia.”


Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

Updated 34 min 40 sec ago
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Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

  • Prepared to counter any attack from Indian security forces
  • Warns New Delhi against action; says Islamabad “would surprise you”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor warned India on Friday against any military action, saying that should New Delhi “show any aggression,” it would be Islamabad that would “surprise you”. 
He added in the same breath that “we do not wish to go to war”.
In his statement — which was in response to growing threats from its nuclear-armed neighbor — the spokesperson said that Islamabad was prepared to respond to a “full spectrum threat” without enabling its nuclear capability.
“Pakistan is not preparing for war. War and revenge threats are coming from you. We are a sovereign state and hold the right to respond to your threats. We are not preparing to initiate, but response and defense is our right and we will exercise that,” he said, adding that he hoped India “got the message”.
Ghafoor said Islamabad delayed its response to the Pulwama attack to investigate New Delhi’s baseless claims of state-sponsored terrorism to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, following which Prime Minister Imran Khan responded in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday wherein he rejected the assertion and warned New Delhi of retaliation if attacked.
He said that Khan has offered to assist India in investigating the attack if it can back its claims and would take strict measures against the person who is “an enemy of Pakistan”, an offer Ghafoor said has been given before as well. He added that “terrorism is a regional problem and Pakistan is willing to table talks with India on the matter”.
Ghafoor made the comments at a press briefing which came a week after a deadly suicide attack in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir. The attack killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and left scores injured.
Listing terror incidents of the past in India or Indian-administered Kashmir, Ghafoor said there is a pattern of occurrences of this nature adding that “when an important event for Pakistan is scheduled to happen, this type of stage action arises”.
The brazen bombing came before eight very important engagements for Pakistan, Ghafoor explained connecting India’s previous attempts to paint Pakistan as the sponsor of terrorism, hold its western neighbor responsible and push it toward diplomatic isolation.
“Saudi Crown Prince was due in Pakistan to hold a (historic) investment conference, talks on terror listing at United Nations Security Council was scheduled, development on Afghan peace reconciliation process was underway, discussions on human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir at the European Union was due, the decisive hearing of (Indian spy) Kulbushan Jhadav case at the world court, a discussion on Financial Action Task Force was to take place for a decision on Pakistan, both sides (India and Pakistan) were to hold a meeting on the Kartarpur border crossing development, and Pakistan super league cricket matches [in which foreign players are participating] had begun,” he said.
The military spokesman questioned how cross border infiltration could have happened when the number of Indian security forces is larger than the population of Kashmiris. “India should ask its forces which have been there for seven decades and spent a huge quantum on defense, how infiltration occurred?” he said.
“The attack happened miles from the Line of Control (LoC), the explosives used were under use by Indian security forces and administration – it didn’t come from Pakistan. The vehicle used was local, not from Pakistan. The attack [was carried out ] by the young Kashmiri, who was resident of Indian-administered Kashmir,” Ghafoor said.
He added that Pakistan is the only country in the world that has not let terrorism take control of its narrative and has given ample sacrifices to counter it. He cited the example of Islamabad helping other nations eliminate Al Qaeda from Afghanistan.
Kashmir, he said, is the biggest issue of the region and offered India to resume talks on the matter. Being the world’s largest democracy, India needs “introspection” on the Kashmir issue and two democracies can’t afford war, he said.