Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency on October 13, 2019 shows President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan giving a joint press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

  • Pakistani premier visited Tehran on Sunday to promote regional peace and security
  • Pakistan on Friday rejected reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Islamabad to mediate on Iran 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan will extend full facilitation of efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Arabian Gulf and help resolve differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means, as he held wide-ranging talks with the Iranian leadership in Tehran.

“Pakistan will act as a facilitator, not as a mediator to help reduce tensions – now and in the future,” Khan said addressing a joint news conference with President Hassan Rouhani.  

Khan said that “I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”

Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement that Khan’s Iran visit was “part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region.”

The prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the PM on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, and other senior officials.

Khan also met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his day-long visit. He is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed his resolve to comprehensively upgrade Pakistan- Iran relations. He also apprised the Supreme Leader of his initiative for regional peace and security,” the foreign office said.

The latest trip will be Khan’s second visit to Iran this year. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York last month.

On Friday the Pakistani foreign office in a statement rejected media reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to play a mediatory role to defuse tensions with Iran. 

“These reports are without any basis as no such letter or message was conveyed, nor has Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to play any mediatory role with Iran,” the foreign office said. 

Saudi labor ministry plans new foreign manpower program

Updated 13 November 2019

Saudi labor ministry plans new foreign manpower program

  • The Kingdom intends to gradually cancel labor visas issued under the previous system
  • Says it will prioritize certain occupational categories

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia will introduce a new foreign manpower program starting next month by issuing visas for specific occupations, said Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Al-Omair noted that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes. He also noted that the previous labor category system would be gradually be removed from the ministry’s system.

The new scheme will be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it will become compulsory.

According to Al-Omair, the new program will be first applied to the manpower recruited from India due to it is a large size in the Saudi market.

However, it will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, since workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of the professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.