Pakistan reiterates stand for Saudi Arabia’s security

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is talking to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on September 19, 2019. Khan arrived in the Kingdom on a two-day official visit ahead of his trip to New York where he is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly later this month. (Photo Courtesy: Consulate General of Pakistan Jeddah)
Updated 20 September 2019

Pakistan reiterates stand for Saudi Arabia’s security

  • Pakistani prime minister held meetings with the Saudi leadership during his two-day official visit
  • Saudi leadership reiterated its “steadfast support and solidarity for the Kashmir cause,” PM office said

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Saudi leadership that his country would stand by Saudi Arabia if the sanctity and security of the holiest Muslim places in the Kingdom were in danger, said the PM Office on Friday.
“Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s strong condemnation of the recent attacks on oil installations in Abqaiq and Khurais and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and territorial integrity,” the statement read.
During the visit, Khan held wide-ranging talks with the Saudi leadership. 
Extending a warm welcome to the Prime Minister, the Saudi leadership underscored that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is based on “real brotherhood,” the PM office said. 
Khan held separate meetings with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
“The two sides underlined the deep and multi-faceted quality of the relationship and reaffirmed the resolve to enrich it further in myriad dimensions,” according to the official handout.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, and PM’s special aide for overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari accompanied the premier.
In meetings with Saudi leadership PM Khan also underscored, in detail, the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the “Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and the grave risks posed to peace and security in the aftermath of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August and its irresponsible and belligerent rhetoric and actions.”
“Noting that the indefensible lockdown of over 8 million Kashmiris had continued for 46 days,” Khan stressed the need of urgently lifting the curfew and restrictions, respect for the rights and freedom of Kashmiris, and resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the pivotal role that OIC’s consistent support for the Kashmir cause has played.
“The Saudi leadership expressed concern over the situation and reiterated its steadfast support and solidarity for the Kashmir cause,” the statement said.
On the bilateral plane, the Prime Minister recalled the historic visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan in February 2019 and noted that it had imparted a strong momentum to the growth trajectory of the relationship.
“The two sides reiterated the resolve to further intensify bilateral trade, energy, investment and people-to-people contacts,” the statement said.
Khan also conveyed sincere gratitude for Pakistan’s inclusion in the Road-To-Makkah Project and hoped for its extension to other major cities in Pakistan.
This was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s fourth visit to Saudi Arabia since assuming office in August 2018. His last visit was in May 2019 to attend the 14th Session of the OIC Islamic Summit in Makkah.
Prime Minister office said that the long-standing Pakistan-Saudi fraternal ties are marked by trust, understanding, mutual support and standing by each other.
Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of Pakistani diaspora anywhere in the world.
Saudi Arabia is among the founding members of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir.
After concluding his visit to the Kingdom, he will continue his journey to New York where he will attend the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the PM Office added.
Governor Makkah Prince Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz received Khan at the Royal Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport. Pakistan’s envoy to Saudi Arabia, Raja Ali Ejaz, was also in attendance.


Editor of Pakistan’s English daily says 'orchestrated campaign' against newspaper

Updated 08 December 2019

Editor of Pakistan’s English daily says 'orchestrated campaign' against newspaper

  • Two angry protests in a week broke out against daily Dawn for identifying London bridge attacker to be of Pakistani origin
  • “The government has nothing to do with these protests:” PTI senate leader

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Following charged protests outside the office of Pakistan’s independent English language daily in Islamabad, the paper’s editor said the demonstrations seemed like an “orchestrated campaign” to force the paper into self-censorship.
On Friday, dozens of angry protesters besieged the Dawn newspaper’s bureau in the capital, chanting slogans against the editor and staff and setting fire to copies of the paper. This followed a similar demonstration earlier on Tuesday, where protesters demanded that editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon be hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker, who stabbed two people to death last week, was of “Pakistani origin.” 
“We have no way to identify the protesters but to us it looks like an orchestrated campaign against Dawn,” editor Zaffar Abbas told Arab News on Saturday.
“Everyone has a right to disagree with Dawn’s journalism, and even to protest against us. But calling us anti-state, making demands that we be hanged, burning our effigies, amounts to incitement to violence. This should immediately stop,” he said and urged the authorities and government ministers to show some tolerance toward critical journalism.
Abbas said a few of the government’s ministers and senior officials had expressed their anger toward Dawn — some publicly and others through messages. 
“We were accused of writing something anti-state, as according to them, the attacker had nothing to do with Pakistan,” Abbas said, and added that Dawn tried to explain that nowhere in its news report had it suggested the attacker was radicalized in Pakistan or that Pakistan had anything to do with the attack.
“We also tried to explain to them that even in the past we had referred to people like the London Mayor Sadiq Khan or boxer Aamir Khan as of Pakistani origin, although they were born in Britain and are UK nationals,” Abbas said. 
After that, he said, suddenly the protest demonstrations began.
“In the larger context this can be seen as yet another attempt to silence Dawn, and force it into self-censorship-- something that we have tried to resist so far,” Abbas said.
But government officials denied that the protests were planned.
“The government has nothing to do with these protests. Why would the government do it? If anything happens which is not liked by the people, they come out to protest. This happens everywhere in the world, even in western countries,” said PTI senator Shibli Faraz, leader of the house in Pakistan’s senate.
“Newspapers sometimes write something which offends certain segments of society, so it is natural they will come out to protest. But again, I would say the protest should be peaceful,” Faraz said, adding that newspapers should be careful and accountable.
“Journalism is about reporting responsibly and correctly and they (journalists) should be accountable and responsible for what they write. We should also consider our country’s interests,” Faraz said.
Earlier, Human Rights minister Shireen Mazari wrote in a Twitter post: “I disagree often with @dawn_com’s line but I strongly condemn violence & threats by protesters outside Dawn’s offices.”
PM’s special assistant for information and broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, could not be reached for comment till the filing of this report.
Friday’s protest outside Dawn’s bureau came a day after journalists and rights’ activists rallied in support of the paper and criticized an earlier anti-newspaper protest.
On Saturday, the body of 28 year old London Bridge attacker, Usman Khan, was laid to rest in his ancestral village in Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir.
“All I can say is that after the latest development where the body of the London attacker was brought here and buried in an AJK village, this sinister campaign against Dawn should stop,” Abbas said.
“Prime Minister Imran yesterday said he fully supports media freedom. We expect the prime minister to intervene in the matter, and in the light of the latest development, take measures to stop calls for violence,” he said.
“Democracy can only flourish if there is a free and critical media. Without a vibrant and free press, there can be no democracy.”