Young Pakistani footballers get warm welcome in Saudi Arabia

A 30-member contingent of Pakistan U-16 Football team and officials snapped at Jeddah Airport of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 12, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Football Federation)
Updated 13 September 2019
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Young Pakistani footballers get warm welcome in Saudi Arabia

  • Excited to play good football in Saudi Arabia, says Pakistan’s U-16 team
  • Pakistan will play matches against Saudi Arabia, Syria and Oman

LAHORE: Pakistan Under-sixteen (U-16) Football team received a warm welcome at Jeddah Airport as they reached Saudi Arabia on Thursday to participate in Asian Football Championship qualifying round matches.
A 30-member squad, footballers and officials, was received by the delegation of the host federation led by Thamer Alharthi, Protocol and Liaison Officer of Saudi Arabia Football Federation.
“We are very excited to play good football in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohib Ullah, a member of the Pakistani squad. “We are being given warm hospitality here in Saudi Arabia by the hosts,” he told Arab News.
Pakistan U-16 team will play qualifying matches with other three Arab teams including Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Oman starting from September 18 in Dammam.
Pakistan will play its first match against Oman on September 18, its second against Saudi Arabia on September 20 while the third and the last game will be on September 22 against Syria.
Ahead of the matches in Saudi Arabia, FIFA accredited Pakistan Football Secretariat held a six-week training camp for the young footballers selected to play the Asian Football Championship (AFC) championship.
“The team is in good shape. In the six weeks long camp, all the possible training measures have been taken. We will play according to aggressive strategy,” Jose Roberto Portella, Brazilian national, head coach for Pakistani team told Arab News.


Pakistan’s health care facility at Torkham border a big leap for Afghans

Updated 17 September 2019
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Pakistan’s health care facility at Torkham border a big leap for Afghans

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan will officially inaugurate the hospital on Wednesday
  • Afghan patients will no longer have to travel to other Pakistani cities for medical treatment, official says

PESHAWAR: Afghan nationals on Tuesday praised the Pakistani government for setting up an advanced medical facility at Zero Point on Torkham border crossing, saying it would serve many people who required medical assistance in their country.
Syed Bilal Hussain, media officer to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s health minister, told Arab News that the government would encourage Afghans to benefit from the “health care city in the border district of Khyber.”
“Afghan patients will no longer need to travel to other Pakistani cities for medical treatment because the Pak-Afghan Healthcare Referral Facility on Torkham border contains state-of-the-art paraphernalia. There are also highly qualified medical practitioners and surgeons who will treat the patients,” he said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will formally inaugurate the facility at Zero Point on Wednesday.
Yasir Hikmat, an Afghan national studying BS Computer Sciences at the COMSATS University Abbottabad, described the hospital as a brilliant step by the administration in Islamabad that would benefit poor patients who could not afford to travel to big Pakistani cities.
“This is a noble thing to do and will built ties between the two governments and their people. I pray this hospital lives up to the expectations of Afghan patients and offers them medical treatment for all disease under one roof,” he said while talking to Arab News.
Hikmat added the hospital would be more successful if Pakistan eases the visa regime for ailing Afghans who needed to travel on medical grounds.
Hussain said the vibrant Out Patient Department (OPD) at the hospital would function diligently to facilitate patients on a priority basis.
“The facility has a laboratory and labor room along with ultrasound and electrocardiogram (ECG) facilities,” he added.
Kiftan Bacha, an Afghan trader who frequently uses the Torkham border crossing, lauded Pakistan for establishing the spacious health care facility.
“It is really commendable,” he said. “Roughly 400 Afghan patients cross the border every day to get treatment at Pakistani hospitals. It was also a good idea since there is no such facility within the 15-kilometer radius of the Zero Point.”
However, he suggested that patients who reached the hospital should be treated by doctors even if they did not possess passports, visas or other legal documents.
Hussain expressed his optimism that the hospital would also positively impact the Pak-Afghan relations on political and diplomatic levels.
“We want to promote medical tourism from Afghanistan,” he informed. “The health care city will function under public-private partnership and provide wide ranging medical facilities.”
Sayed Alauddin, another Afghan student at the Department of Optometry in the Hayat Medical Complex (HMC) in Peshawar, noted that Afghan patients faced tough challenges while reaching Pakistani hospitals, adding that this facility would offer them huge relief.
“This will be a great service to ailing Afghans,” he said, “because the hospital on the border will help save time and money of poor patients.”