Pakistan urges early resumption of Afghan peace talks

Pakistan's Ambassador at the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, urges early resumption of Afghan peace talks. (Photo Courtesy – Maleeha Lodhi Twitter Account)
Updated 12 September 2019

Pakistan urges early resumption of Afghan peace talks

  • Says no military solution to Afghan conflict
  • A lull in peace talks will only lead to surge in violence, says Islamabad’s permanent envoy to UN

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has expressed hope that the US-Taliban talks, which were abruptly suspended over the weekend, would soon resume and open the way for intra-Afghan negotiations that would lead to a peaceful settlement of the long-drawn conflict in Afghanistan.
“We hope the suspension of the peace talks is only a pause and will resume sooner rather than later as the alternative is a surge in violence, which could push Afghanistan into even more turbulent and uncertain phase than has been witnessed so far,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council, while assuring of Pakistan’s role as a facilitator of the Afghan peace process.
Speaking in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan, she said Pakistan had always condemned violence and called for all sides to exercise restraint and to remain committed to the peace process out of its belief that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.


Saudi team meets Pakistani health officials to expedite work on new hospital 

Updated 26 February 2020

Saudi team meets Pakistani health officials to expedite work on new hospital 

  •  200-bed first ever tertiary care hospital being jointly built by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in rural Islamabad
  • Saudi Arabia building hospital as “gift to people of Pakistan” through Saudi Fund for Development,” Saudi ambassador says 

ISLAMABAD: A Saudi delegation met with top officials of Pakistan’s health ministry late last week to discuss ways to expedite construction of the first-ever tertiary care hospital in rural Islamabad, the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Hospital, a senior official
 at Pakistan’s health ministry said on Tuesday.

Construction is underway for King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Hospital in Islamabad on Feb. 26, 2020. (AN photo)

The Saudi delegation was led by Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Regional Manager Dr. Saud Al Shammari and the Pakistani side by Director General Health, Malik Muhammad Safi.

Workers are seen at the construction site of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Hospital in Islamabad on Feb. 26, 2020. (AN photo)

“The total cost of the [hospital] building is Rs2,500 million, out of which Rs500 million was the cost of the land, which was provided by the Pakistani government while the remaining Rs2,000 million would be spent by the Saudi side,” Safi told Arab News in an interview
 in Islamabad on Tuesday.

He said Saudi officials had suspended the contractor hired by them earlier as they were not satisfied with progress on the project.

Workers are seen at the construction site of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Hospital in Islamabad on Feb. 26, 2020. (AN photo)

“During the meeting last week, the Saudi delegation informed us that they [Saudis] have voided the previous contractor and now are discussing hiring a new firm,” Safi said. “It will take another four months to complete the process of hiring through international bidding.”

After a new contractor is hired, it will take two years to complete the first phase of the 200-bed hospital, to which another 300 beds would be added in the future, Safi said.

“Pakistan has built a complete boundary wall and installed gates on the plot and possession has been given to Saudi officials,” he said. “Now they [Saudis] will take over control of further construction process. Their technical team is coordinating with our team to
 complete and expedite the work.”

Safi said the hospital would benefit over three million people from both urban and rural Islamabad. 

“Saudi Arabia is building a hospital in Islamabad as a gift to the people of Pakistan through the Saudi Fund for Development,” Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, told Arab News in Islamabad. “There are many welfare projects in the pipeline for
 the Pakistani people and they will be executed by different Saudi agencies all over Pakistan.”