Kashmiris look to Muslim world for help - Qureshi

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi interacting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, in Riyadh. (Photo Courtesy: Foreign Ministry of Pakistan)
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Updated 12 December 2019

Kashmiris look to Muslim world for help - Qureshi

  • Discusses bilateral relations with his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh
  • The two sides pledge to continue working for regional peace and stability

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday that people of Indian-administered Kashmir were expectantly looking at the international community, particularly the Muslim world, to help them get rid of “Indian atrocities” in the disputed Himalayan territory.
According to an official handout circulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qureshi expressed these views while interacting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, in Riyadh.





Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi interacting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, in Riyadh. (Photo Courtesy: Foreign Ministry of Pakistan)

The two officials also discussed the bilateral relations between their countries and talked about the prevailing global and regional situation.
Qureshi briefed the Saudi foreign minister on the ongoing state of affairs in Indian-administered Kashmir, pointing out that New Delhi had deprived its residents of their basic human rights for nearly four months.
The two sides pledged to strengthen their diverse relations and continue to work for regional peace and stability.
Last week, representatives of the Saudi Shoura Council, led by the chairman Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh, arrived in Pakistan for meetings with the country’s top political leadership and members of parliament.
During one of the meetings, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his commitment to deepen bilateral ties, and lauded the growing cooperation between the National Assembly and Saudi Shoura Council.


How Pakistani man made Sheikh Zayed’s green vision come true 

Updated 28 February 2020

How Pakistani man made Sheikh Zayed’s green vision come true 

  • Al-Yousefi joined the service of Sheikh Zayed in 1962
  • He died on Feb. 14 at the age of 83

DUBAI: A newspaper advertisement for agricultural engineers caught the eye of a young Pakistani studying in Lebanon. Little did he know that it would change his life forever.

It was 1962 and Abdul Hafeez Khan Al-Yousefi was doing his master’s studies at the American University in Beirut, when he replied to the job announcement. It turned out to be published on behalf of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates.

The 25-year-old was hired immediately and began his journey to make Sheikh Zayed’s dream come true and turn the desert city of Al Ain into a green oasis.

Abdul Hafeez Khan Al-Yousefi, center, is seen sitting with Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan upon his arrival in Al Ain in 1962. (Photo Courtesy: Abdul Hafeez Khan Al-Yousefi's family)

Al-Yousefi died on Feb. 14 at the age of 83. He was buried at an old cemetery in Al Ain, just a five-minute walk from his home where he lived for 58 years.

Born in what was then British India, he migrated with his family to Karachi after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. He left Pakistan to study in Beirut.

Khalid Al-Yousefi, the second of his seven children, told Arab News his father knew Sheikh Zayed even before he became the UAE ruler and would share the stories of their closeness.

“To turn Al Ain green was the vision of Sheikh Zayed and it became my father’s passion,” he said. “He spent all his time with Sheikh Zayed to turn the desert green.”

Abdul Hafeez Al-Yousefi shows a tree Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan planted in his garden in 1962. Photo taken Feb. 2, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Abdul Hafeez Khan Al-Yousefi's family)

In 2015, Al-Yousefi wrote a book titled “50 Years in Al Ain Oasis,” where he narrated the mission to transform the barren region of Al Ain into the Garden City it is now.

Before the Pakistani student joined the service of the future UAE ruler, British experts were trying to convince Sheikh Zayed the green endeavor was an exercise in futility, as nature would always reclaim what is hers. Al-Yousefi’s efforts proved them wrong.

The trees he planted along the roads of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi stand tall until today and protect the cities from wind and sandstorms. 

Even in his last days, the sheikh’s gardener would continue to do wonders and grow plants that normally do not survive in the desert.

“Until my father died, he was taking care of his own garden which has 500 trees,” Khalid said. Some of them are tropical mango trees, banana plants and evergreen Malabar plums.