Pakistani leaders call for UN intervention as Houthis attack Saudi airport

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The picture shows smoke billowing from a tanker said to have been reportedly attacked off the coast of Oman on June 13, 2019 (AFP Photo/ via IRIB TV)
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Damage of Saudi Arabia's Abha airport is seen after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 12, 2019 - SPA
Updated 13 June 2019

Pakistani leaders call for UN intervention as Houthis attack Saudi airport

  • 26 people injured by missile strike on civilian airport on Wednesday
  • Attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday in Gulf of Oman left one ablaze and both adrift

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ruling and opposition political parties on Thursday condemned a missile attack carried out by Houthi rebels on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, calling on the United Nations and world powers to take note of repeated assaults on the Kingdom that were endangering regional security.
The Houthis said on their media channels that they fired a cruise missile at Abha airport, which is located about 200 kilometers north of the border with Yemen and serves domestic and regional routes. At least 26 people were injured in the strike. 
Wednesday’s attack follows armed drone strikes last month on two oil-pumping stations in the Kingdom. On Thursday, attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman left one ablaze and both adrift and drove oil prices up 4% over worries about Middle East supplies. The attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s central information secretary, said it was against the UN charter and international law to target civilians in any conflict. 
“We have always condemned Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and vow to stand by the Kingdom in case of any threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he told Arab News.
The civil war in Yemen has pitted the Houthis against the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi since 2014. A Saudi-led coalition intervened on the government’s side the following year, accusing Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, including drones and missiles. 
Since the beginning of the four-year conflict, the Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia, most of which have been intercepted by the Saudi military.
“We want peace in the Middle East and urge the United Nations to ensure an immediate ceasefire,” Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior leader Taj Haider told Arab News.
He said simmering tensions in the Arabian Gulf could put the security and safety of the whole region at stake, and it was thus the responsibility of the international community to “help resolve the conflicts among the Arab states as quickly as possible.”
Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said the Houthis were trying to undermine the security and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia “on the behest of some other countries,” but they would never succeed in their designs.
“The conflict in Yemen and rising tensions in the Arabian Gulf region are in no one’s interest, and Muslim countries should try to resolve them amicably at the platform of the OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation],” he told Arab News.
Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, a lawmaker belonging to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, said Houthis and “some other powers” were trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia through missile and rocket attacks without knowing that “they are playing with the fire.”
Pakistan’s foreign office on Wednesday evening condemned the Houthis for their missile attack on the Abha airport.
“Pakistan reiterates its full support and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threats to its security and territorial integrity,” the foreign office said in a statement.


Pakistan cruises to 2nd Twenty20 win vs Bangladesh

Updated 25 January 2020

Pakistan cruises to 2nd Twenty20 win vs Bangladesh

  • Babar Azam, who was out for zero on Friday in Pakistan’s five-wicket win, remained not out on 66
  • Bangladesh’s top-order batsmen struggled for the second consecutive day as the side was restricted to 136-6

LAHORE: Captain Babar Azam and recalled Mohammad Hafeez struck unbeaten half centuries as Pakistan cruised to a nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the second Twenty20 on Saturday and kept alive its hopes of retaining the No. 1 ranking.
Pakistan could stay top if it completes a 3-0 clean sweep by winning the final Twenty20 of the three-match series on Monday.
Recalled 39-year-old Hafeez made an unbeaten 67 off 49 balls while No. 1-ranked Twenty20 batsman Babar remained not out on 66 as Pakistan eased to 137-1 with more than three overs to spare.
Both batsmen entertained a weekend crowd of around 20,000 at the Qaddafi Stadium with a splendid 131-run stand against a listless Bangladesh bowling attack.
Shafiul Islam was the lone successful bowler when he had Ahsan Ali caught at mid off for a duck in his first over before Babar and Hafeez took charge. Bangladesh’s disappointing performance was summed up when wicketkeeper Liton Das dropped Hafeez soon after he had reached his half century.
Hafeez, who completed his half century with two successive fours off Shafiul in the 13th over, struck nine fours and a six while Babar, who was out for zero on Friday in Pakistan’s five-wicket win, hit seven boundaries and a six.
In the absence of the banned Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, who pulled out of the tour due to security concerns, Bangladesh’s top-order batsmen struggled for the second consecutive day as the side was restricted to 136-6.
Earlier, opening batsman Tamim Iqbal labored for 53 balls on his way to a top score of 65 before he was run out in the 18th over as the Bangladesh innings struggled to build any momentum against the Pakistan pace attack.
The inexperienced pace trio of Mohammad Hasnain (2-20), Shaheen Afridi (1-22) and Haris Rauf (1-27) combined to bowl 12 overs, conceding only 69 runs between them and sharing four wickets.
Captain Mahmudullah, who won his second successive toss, surprisingly didn’t put himself in the top order while another experienced batsman, Soumya Sarkar, came in after the fall of Tamim’s wicket with only 14 balls left in the innings.
Bangladesh will round out the first phase of the Pakistan tour on Monday. The team didn’t want to stay in Pakistan for more than a week due to security concerns.
The tour was only finalized last week when Bangladesh agreed to split the Twenty20 series and the two ICC World Test Championship matches into three phases after the countries’ national cricket boards reached consensus in Dubai during a meeting facilitated by International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar.
Bangladesh will return for the first test in Rawalpindi from Feb. 7-11. After a break of almost two months, Bangladesh will play an ODI and the second test in Karachi on April 3-9.
Late last year, Sri Lanka also split its tour to Pakistan into two phases when it played a Twenty20 series in Lahore and then returned in December for two test matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi, staying in Pakistan for 16 days.