Pakistan holds a ‘momentous place’ in the Muslim world, Al-Juhani says

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Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah met with Pakistan army's top commander, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, on Monday. (Photo by ISPR)
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Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah called on President Dr. Arif Alvi in Islamabad on Monday April 15, 2019 – (President Office)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Pakistan holds a ‘momentous place’ in the Muslim world, Al-Juhani says

  • Makkah Grand Mosque imam stresses on the need to intensify efforts for peace and harmony
  • Says relations between the two countries is based on faith

ISLAMABAD: Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, an imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, held talks with Pakistan's military chief on Monday wherein he said that the country holds a "momentous place in the Muslim world."

Al-Juhani also told General Qamar Javed Bajwa that he appreciated the positive role played by Pakistan in maintaining regional peace and stability.
“Both expressed satisfaction on the brotherly relations between the two countries and stressed upon the need for intensifying efforts to enhance peace and harmony in the Muslim world,” a statement released by the military's media wing, the ISPR, read.
Earlier in the day, Al-Juhani had also held a meeting with President Dr. Arif Alvi wherein he said that bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not based on diplomacy alone, but on faith as well.

"Imam Al-Juhani said that the relationship of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is not merely a diplomatic one but is based on faith,” a statement released by the President's Office read, adding that the imam “stressed that there should be more frequent exchange of delegations between the two countries in various fields.”
Dr. Alvi, for his part, said that Pakistan highly valued its relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the two countries share mutual "bonds of history, culture, traditions, faith, and values."
Recalling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "highly successful" visit to Pakistan in February this year, he added that the crown prince had "won the hearts of Pakistani people with his generous offer to support the Pakistani community."
The president further appreciated Saudi Arabia for the support extended to Pakistani pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Hajj and Umrah each year. He also welcomed Saudi's "decision to increase the Hajj quota for Pakistan to 200,000," in addition to "including Pakistan in its Road to Makkah initiative,” the statement read.
Dr. Alvi added that the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia serves as a strong bridge between the two brotherly countries.
“Pakistanis consider Saudi Arabia as their second home and work devotedly for the progress and prosperity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement added.
Imam Al-Juhani, on Sunday, had addressed the  fourth International Message of Islam Conference in Islamabad where he underlined that the "teachings of Islam have nothing to do with terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence."
A joint statement issued after the conference stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and forbearance, adding that “elements responsible for fanning terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence are enemies of Islam and Muslims."
The conference also decided to call for a meeting between Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries to finalize the mechanism for an Islamic Ideological Alliance, adding that "the Muslim Ummah is not negligent toward its responsibility" to ensure security and stability in Saudi Arabia.
"Defense of Harmain Al Sharifain is part of every Muslim's faith and no one will be allowed to play with it's peace and security,” the statement said.


Pakistan insists on Qatar World Cup workers’ rights

Updated 45 min 46 sec ago
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Pakistan insists on Qatar World Cup workers’ rights

  • Qatari plans to offer Pakistan up to 100,000 work permits
  • Amnesty International has warned Qatar against exploitation of tens of thousands of migrant laborers

BRUSSELS: Pakistan will insist on proper labor rights for an army of its citizens working on Qatar’s football World Cup infrastructure, the country’s foreign minister said Monday, after repeated reports of abuses.
The gas-rich Gulf state has embarked on a huge construction program to get ready for the 2022 tournament, drawing intense scrutiny from rights and labor campaigners.
Earlier this year Amnesty International warned that despite “nascent reforms,” Qatar was running out of time to stamp out widespread and serious exploitation of tens of thousands of migrant laborers, many of them from South Asia.
There have been reports of wages going unpaid, passports being held by unscrupulous bosses and some laborers working up to 148 days in a row.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomed Qatar’s plans to offer his countrymen up to 100,000 work permits but insisted World Cup workers’ rights must be respected.
“Certainly we will ask our embassy and we will ask the recruiting agencies to give better terms,” he told AFP during a visit to Brussels.
“Where we feel Pakistani labor is contributing, we feel they should be looked after as well.”
Qatar insists it is committed to labor reform.
Since it was chosen as World Cup host it has introduced a monthly minimum wage of 750 riyals ($206) and partially scrapped the exit visa system which required workers to obtain their employers’ permission before leaving the country.
Qureshi welcomed the changes but said Pakistan would push for more.
“I think other facilities like health cover and stuff like that can be negotiated and we will talk with them about that,” he said.
Qureshi’s trip to Brussels comes as cash-strapped Pakistan seeks foreign investment, with the government forced to announce an austerity budget after securing a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
After talks with senior EU officials on Tuesday, the minister will sign a “strategic engagement plan” with the bloc’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.