300 Pakistani doctors return to Saudi after getting stuck in their country

This file photo taken on March 15, 2020 shows a view outside the emergency entrance of a hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (AFP)
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Updated 11 July 2020

300 Pakistani doctors return to Saudi after getting stuck in their country

  • The medical professionals had taken leave from work before the COVID-19 outbreak and were visiting relatives in Pakistan
  • The remaining 200 doctors are scheduled to fly back to the Kingdom next week, says Pakistan’s envoy in Riyadh

ISLAMABAD: More than 300 Pakistani doctors, employed by Saudi hospitals, flew back to the Kingdom last week after getting stuck in their country for months due to the suspension of international flight operations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz told Arab News on Friday.
The medical professionals had taken leave before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and were visiting relatives in Pakistan.
“Over 300 Pakistani medics and their families returned to Saudi Arabia last week,” the envoy informed. “The remaining 200 are scheduled to return during the second week of July.”
Ejaz said the embassy had raised the issue of Pakistani doctors with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 2020, soliciting permission for their return so they could help the Kingdom in its battle against the contagion.
“Pakistani doctors are working tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic and constitute the backbone of the Kingdom’s COVID-19 response,” Dr. Asad Ullah Roomi, president of the Pakistan Doctors’ Group in Riyadh, told Arab News.
He added that the return of the Pakistani medical professionals would help Saudi Arabia deal with the new coronavirus.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Pakistan Embassy that made it possible for these doctors to return to the Kingdom and resume their duties,” he added.
Dr. Imran Chaudhry, resident physician at the Convalescence Hospital & PT Center, Al-Baha, was stuck in Lahore and recently returned to the Kingdom to rejoin his work.
He thanked the Saudi government for facilitating the return of the doctors, saying their presence in the country was vital to help COVID-19 patients.
“We wanted to rejoin our duty to serve the people in need, and the Saudi government turned it into a smooth process. The Kingdom even provided free tickets to those who could not make travel arrangements for their families,” he told Arab News.
“We had to wait for a long time, but we are back in Saudi Arabia now. At the moment, we have quarantined ourselves, but we will resume our work in the next few days,” Chaudhary said.

Pakistan court adjourns Daniel Pearl murder case for a month

Updated 22 October 2020

Pakistan court adjourns Daniel Pearl murder case for a month

  • In July 2002, British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was convicted of Pearl’s kidnapping and murder
  • A lower Pakistani court in April acquitted Sheikh, a move that stunned the US government

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top court on Thursday adjourned for four weeks the hearing of an appeal from the family of American journalist Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of a British-born Pakistani man convicted over the 2002 beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter.

The key suspect in Pearl’s murder, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and three other accomplices were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the plot. But a lower Pakistani court in April acquitted him, a move that stunned the US government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups.

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is pictured in this photo, one of two image included in an e-mail message apparently from his kidnappers. (REUTERS/Handout)

The acquittal is now being appealed separately by the government and Pearl’s family, a process that under Pakistani law could take years. The government has opposed Sheikh’s release, saying it would endanger the public. He is to remain in custody until the appeals are resolved.

Thursday's adjournment came due to the absence from court of government lawyer Farooq Naek, who was unwell, and following the request of Sheikh's defense lawyer.

Faisal Siddiqi, who is representing Pearl’s family, said he was surprised by the four-week adjournment, saying he had asked for an expeditious handling of the case.