Pakistan, Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman riding in a carriage during a welcome ceremony in Islamabad on Feb. 18, 2019. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 14 August 2020

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other

Ambassador Raja Ali Ejaz 

It gives me immense pleasure to extend my congratulations to my fellow Pakistanis on the Independence Day of Pakistan. I am happy to be celebrating the occasion with our brothers in our second home: Saudi Arabia.

This day provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and to the aspirations of Dr. Allama Mohammed Iqbal. The founding father worked tirelessly for the creation of Pakistan so that the Muslims of the subcontinent could flourish in an independent homeland without any fear of oppression and injustice.

Since the inception of Pakistan, our leadership has consistently moved forward to realize the dreams of our founding fathers. We are proud to have developed into a responsible state in the comity of nations, through the untiring efforts of our people and leadership.

Pakistan, a country of more than 200 million people, is a progressive Islamic state with a functional parliament, independent judiciary, free media, vibrant civil society and resilient economy. Above all, Pakistan is endowed with abundant natural resources and inhabitants that are industrious and peace-loving.

Saudi Arabia and its leadership have a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis because of their outstanding services and guardianship of the two holy mosques. The countries have always stood by each other and the bilateral cooperation continues to grow.

We are grateful to the Kingdom for the warmth and hospitality extended to nearly 2.6 million Pakistanis, which is the largest overseas Pakistani community. Saudi Arabia has always acknowledged the contributions made by professionals and other workers from Pakistan to the development of the Kingdom. Saudi Vision 2030 provides opportunities for investors and professionals on both sides to enhance cooperation in all fields.

On this occasion, on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, and myself, I would also like to express gratitude to the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing free medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic to all Pakistanis. Further, the Kingdom undertook all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of expatriate Pakistanis despite the economic slowdown.

Let us today renew our pledge to make Pakistan the state envisioned by its founding fathers. As ambassador, I congratulate all Pakistanis on this auspicious occasion. Let us work together to build our country and further strengthen our fraternal ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

May Allah bless Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with lasting peace and prosperity in the times ahead.

Long live Pakistan. Long live Saudi Arabia. Long live the Pakistan-Saudi friendship.


• Raja Ali Ejaz is the ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia

Creditors take action against Al Jaber in decade-long saga

Updated 4 min 13 sec ago

Creditors take action against Al Jaber in decade-long saga

  • The downturn in the Gulf construction sector has triggered a number of corporate restructurings as companies are forced to reschedule debt, raise fresh borrowing or enter insolvency protection

DUBAI: Creditors have started to enforce claims against Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, in a dispute triggered by a construction downturn in the UAE more than a decade ago.

Al Jaber, a contractor with interests across a range of sectors, has struggled since building up debt in the wake of a UAE real estate crisis and began talks with creditors in 2011.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which is working as restructuring and security agent, said in a document dated Sept. 21 which was seen by Reuters, that it had instructions from the majority of creditors to proceed with claims against Al Jaber.

A representative for Al Jaber did not immediately respond to a request or comment. ADCB declined to comment.

The move follows delays in restructuring agreements, under which Al Jaber was to appoint a new board and sell companies and assets such as the Shangri-La hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In exchange, creditors had agreed to extend the maturity of a 5.9 billion dirhams ($1.61 billion) loan, cut interest rates, and provide additional revolving debt.

The initial enforcement action now being pursued by creditors includes the “acceleration and demand for payment of amounts outstanding” under the previously agreed debt restructuring, a source familiar with the matter said.

Enforcement will also allow creditors to claim against Al Jaber’s chairman under a 4.5 billion dirham loan to the company.

Several UAE companies have sought to extend debt maturities or agree better terms in recent years to avoid defaults, after an oil price crash hit energy services and construction.

The coronavirus crisis has added to the strain and Arabtec Holding, the UAE’s biggest listed contractor, this week will discuss options including dissolution after the pandemic hit projects and led to additional costs.

Meanwhile, Dubai-listed construction firm Drake & Scull is working to reach an agreement with its creditors in an out-of-court process.