Pakistan reduces visa fee for Saudi nationals

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki visited the headquarters of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Karachi, on Dec.1, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Islamabad)
Updated 06 December 2018
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Pakistan reduces visa fee for Saudi nationals

  • Both the countries have agreed to enhance trade and cultural ties
  • Riyadh has also expressed an interest in the mining and development of mineral resources in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government announced on Thursday that it has reduced the visa fee for Saudi nationals who wish to travel to the country.
“The government of Pakistan has reduced the visit, tourist, study visa (60 US $) and business, work visa (90 US $) [fees] for Saudi nationals,” the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh said in a tweet.

However, no further details were shared about the initiative.
In recent months, the two countries have agreed to enhance trade and cultural ties.
In September this year, Saudi Minister Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad visited Pakistan and discussed how the two allies could further broaden and deepen their relationship in the field of media and culture.
On December 1, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki also visited the headquarters of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Karachi and discussed the investment opportunities between the two countries.

During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s second visit to Saudi Arabia on October 22, the Kingdom had also expressed an interest in the mining and development of mineral resources in Pakistan and in the country’s largest coastal refinery.
The multi-billion dollar project is being set up at the Khalifa Point, near the hub district in Balochistan, Sher Afghan Khan, spokesman for the Ministry of Energy (petroleum division) and a board member of Pakistan-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) confirmed to Arab News.
With an aim to attract even more tourists to the country, the Islamabad Embassy in Riyadh posted on its website: “Pakistan is a land blessed with an enormously-rich historical heritage, diverse culture, high adventure, and unmatched natural beauty.”
“We offer a unique and contrasted destination to behold the caravan of mankind across ages and precious beauties of nature, to the tourists of the world,” the embassy further added.
Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a multifaceted and deep-rooted cooperation.
In October this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accepted PM Khan’s proposal to reduce the visa fee for Pakistani workers which Pakistan considers as a significant step toward enhancing its workforce in Saudi Arabia, as well as facilitating travel of people between both the countries.


In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

Updated 27 May 2019
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In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

PESHAWAR: Located next to iconic landmarks like the Provincial Assembly and the High Court, the central prison in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar is a handsome old building bursting at the seams with over 1,800 prisoners. 38 of them are women.

The existing building was established in 1854 with an occupancy limit of 425 prisoners, but with the influx of thousands of inmates, a new block is now under construction and slated for completion by the end of the year. 

Inside the prison kitchens, convicted prisoners make round traditional bread and prepare Iftar meals for other inmates. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The prison department provides basic facilities and food to inmates still under trial and to those convicted in the male, female and juvenile sections. During the month of Ramadan, these facilities extend to include special meals at Iftar, like sweet rice, chicken and potatoes served with a side of milky hot tea. 

A female inmate cooks chicken gravy for herself and other prisoners in the prison barracks before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“We get good food in this month (of Ramadan) and are free to offer our prayers and recite the Holy Quran at any time,” said Shahida, an inmate who has been in the prison for five years but was convicted for murder late last year. 

Acting superintendent of the prison releases prisoners after the court orders arrive. The inmates receive the good news right before Iftar time in Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The large hall of the women’s section has a scattering of beds, but most inmates sleep, eat and pray on quilts spread out on the floor. 

A police officer stands guard outside the entrance to the women’s section in Peshawar’s central jail. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

"Some of the women get sick often,” said Iffat Shaheen, assistant superintendent of the women’s prison section. “Right now we have two pregnancy cases and one case of HIV AIDS, so we try to give them good meals. A few prisoners have small children inside prison with them and they get milk as well.” 

A female inmate gives English lessons to some of the children at the Peshawar central prison. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

Another female inmate convicted for possession of drugs has been in prison for seven months. She declined to be identified but said they had a lot of free time in Ramadan that could be put to good use. 

Women in Peshawar’s central prison spend their days reading the Quran and reciting prayer beads during the month of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“This is a helpful time for us to learn skills like handicrafts and sewing,” she said. “When we leave prison, perhaps these things will pave the way for a good, halal living.” 

A woman inmate at Peshawar’s central jail has decorated her hands with henna in anticipation of the holy festival of Eid, which will mark the end of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Rooh Afza, a popular indigenous drink made from herbs and flowers, is served around Peshawar’s central prison by the bucketfuls before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Weekly menu written out for prisoners at Peshawar’s central jail in Urdu. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)