Establishment of Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council shows depth of relationship — envoy

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, addresses the seminar “Pak-Saudi Relations: Past, Present and Future” on Saudi National Day in Islamabad on September 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy: SPA)
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Updated 24 September 2021

Establishment of Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council shows depth of relationship — envoy

  • Council announced in 2018 “to fast-track decisions in key areas of bilateral cooperation, and for close monitoring of their implementation”
  • Seminar organized in Islamabad to mark Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day and attended by top officials including president, information minister

ISLAMABAD: Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki said on Thursday the establishment of the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council showed the depth and importance of the relationship between the kingdom and Islamabad. 
The envoy’s comments to Arab News came on the sidelines of a seminar organized in Islamabad to mark Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day and attended by top officials including the president, information minister and national security advisor.
In February 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a one-on-one meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Islamabad, followed by the inaugural session of the Supreme Coordination Council, which was co-chaired by the two leaders. 
The high-powered council was proposed by the crown prince during a visit by Khan to Saudi Arabia in October 2018. The objective, as the Pakistani foreign ministry announced at the time, “was to put in place a high level institutional mechanism to fast track decisions in key areas of bilateral cooperation, and for close monitoring of their implementation.”
“The agreement to establish the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council showed the depth and importance of the relationship between the two countries,” the Saudi envoy told Arab News, adding that a visit by Khan to Saudi Arabia this May had helped strengthen the relationship. We have always stood by Pakistan in thick and thin since its independence.”
Addressing the seminar, President Arif Alvi described Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia as “exemplary,” saying that the kingdom had always helped Pakistan in difficult times and the entire Muslim world looked toward it for leadership.




Pakistani President Arif Alvi (third from right) presents a souvenir to Saudi envoy Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki (fourth from left) at the “Pak-Saudi Relations: Past, Present and Future” in Islamabad on September 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy: Tahir Ashrafi)

“Saudi Arabia has supported Pakistan at every critical stage,” Alvi said. “The kingdom even stood by us after the nuclear tests [of May 1998] when everyone was trying to isolate us.”

“Pakistanis love every bit of the Saudi land,” he continued. “This love between the peoples of the two countries is ideological and will remain forever.”

The Pakistani president said there was an “exemplary” cooperation between the two states on all international forums.

“I feel that the whole Muslim ummah looks toward Saudi Arabia for leadership,” he said. “The kingdom has been the leader of the Muslim world and is still continuing to play that role effectively.”

Appreciating Saudi Vision 2030, a framework to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil and diversify its economy, Alvi said it would bring about a historical change and constitute a major turning point for the Arab country.

“Saudi vision 2030 will lead to a historic change and I pray for its success. Neom city [that plans to incorporate smart city technologies and function as a tourist destination] will be a unique place for the whole world,” he said, adding that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had skillfully developed the vision for the future of his kingdom.




Pakistani leadership and Saudi envoy Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki pose for a photo at the “Pak-Saudi Relations: Past, Present and Future” in Islamabad on September 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy: Tahir Ashrafi)

Pakistan’s information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, who was also present at the gathering, said the bilateral relations between the two countries had entered a new phase under the leadership of the Pakistani prime minister and the Saudi crown prince.

Recounting the history of these ties, he said that Saudi Arabia had supported the All India Muslim League before August 1947 by donating £10,000 on the appeal of Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to deal with a crippling famine in Bengal.

“The kingdom also helped Pakistan with its membership of the United Nations after the independence,” he added.

Pakistan’s religious affairs minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said that every Pakistani’s heart and soul were connected to the holy land.

“On behalf of the Pakistani nation, I would like to appreciate the services rendered by the Saudi leadership to the pilgrims during Hajj and Umrah,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on the Middle East Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, who organized the event, praised the Saudi leadership for showing unconditional love and respect for his country.

“The two countries have remained close partners in all circumstances,” he said.


Russia, China, Pakistan willing to provide Afghanistan with aid, Moscow says

Updated 8 sec ago

Russia, China, Pakistan willing to provide Afghanistan with aid, Moscow says

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion for now
  • The United States did not join this round of talks in Moscow but said it planned to do so in the future

MOSCOW: Russia, China and Pakistan are willing to provide aid to Afghanistan, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday, but Moscow said it was not yet ready to recognize the Taliban government.
The promise of humanitarian aid and economic support came after talks between Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials, who will be joined by representatives of Afghanistan’s Islamist rulers at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was withholding recognition from the Taliban while waiting for them to fulfil promises they made when they took power, including on the political and ethnic inclusivity of the new government.
Critics say the former rebel movement is backtracking on pledges not to sideline women and minorities, or persecute foes.
“Official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion for now,” Lavrov told reporters. “Like most of other influential countries in the region, we are in contact with them. We are prodding them to fulfil the promises they made when they came to power.”
RUSSIA SEEKS LEADERSHIP
In mid-August, the Afghan government collapsed as the United States and allies withdrew troops after 20 years on the ground, leading the Taliban to seize power in a lightning offensive.
Russia, which fought its own disastrous war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, is trying to seize the diplomatic initiative to avoid instability in the wider region that could damage its interests.
In particular it is worried by the possibility of Islamist militants seeping into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, a region Moscow views as a defensive buffer.
Other Russian officials have tempered expectations for Wednesday’s talks. The United States said it would not join this round but planned to do so in the future.
Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin’s special representative on Afghanistan, said last week he did not expect any major breakthrough at the talks.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described them as “an attempt to know what will happen in Afghanistan going forward.”


Pakistan, Iran discuss situation in Afghanistan, call for 'close coordination'

Updated 27 min 16 sec ago

Pakistan, Iran discuss situation in Afghanistan, call for 'close coordination'

  • The Pakistani foreign minister says sustained international engagement is essential to address the situation in Afghanistan
  • The Iranian FM says Tehran fully supports Pakistan’s initiative for a regional approach on the war-battered country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphasized “close coordination” among Afghanistan’s neighboring states to ensure greater peace and stability in the region during a phone call with his Iranian counterpart on Tuesday.
According to the foreign office of Pakistan, Qureshi received a call from the Iranian foreign minister Dr. Hossein Amir Abdollahian who invited the Pakistan to participate in the second ministerial meeting of the neighboring countries of Afghanistan which is scheduled to be held in Tehran next week.
The Iranian official discussed the overall regional security situation during the conversation while pointing out that Tehran fully supported Pakistan’s initiative for a regional approach on Afghanistan.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi thanked his Iranian counterpart for the invitation and expressed the hope that the meeting would impart further impetus to the regional approach on the situation in Afghanistan,” the foreign office said in a statement. “He emphasized that close coordination was essential to help Afghanistan on path to peace, stability and development.”
Qureshi emphasized that sustained international engagement was essential in view of the evolving economic situation in Afghanistan.
“He expressed the hope that international community would ramp up provision of humanitarian assistance on urgent basis, in view of the upcoming winter season, and take steps to ensure economic stability in the country,” the statement added.
The first ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries was held in September after Pakistan urged China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to come together and discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The ministerial meeting was also preceded by a virtual meeting of the special representatives and envoys of the six neighboring states for Afghanistan.


Like rest of Pakistan, social media too lights up in Mawlid Al-Nabi colours

Updated 15 min 12 sec ago

Like rest of Pakistan, social media too lights up in Mawlid Al-Nabi colours

  • Several Pakistani social media users shared photos of the country’s bright decor to mark the occasion
  • The day began with 31-gun salute in Islamabad and 21-gun salute across provincial capitals

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan on Tuesday celebrated Mawlid Al-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), with cities around the country lit up with beautiful colors.
The day began with 31-gun salute in the federal capital, Islamabad, and 21-gun salute across the provincial capitals.
The Prophet’s birth anniversary is observed with great religious zeal on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan requested the nation to celebrate the occasion this year like “never before” in a video message shared across his official social media accounts on October 16, 2021.

President Arif Alvi also maintained it was imperative for Muslims to follow the example of the Prophet (PBUH) since it was “the key to their success” in this world and the hereafter.
“The only solution to all the challenges facing the Muslim ummah, including anarchy, hypocrisy, oppression and injustice, can be found in the life of the Prophet (PBUH),” he said.


Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Geoffrey Shaw shared on his official Twitter account that his local friends had sent him sweet rice, a traditional dish people serve while observing Mawlid Al-Nabi.

 


The country’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party shared a shot of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s residence decked out to mark the occasion.

 

 

 


A Twitter user from Rawalpindi shared a number of images, showing bright lights in mosques, market and alleyways.

 

 

 

 

 


Journalist Ali Tanoli shared images of Islamabad from the night before, showing landmarks like Faisal Mosque and Bari Imam lit up.

 

 


Twitter user Syed Hashir Shah shared photos of lights hanging above bustling markets in Karachi, Pakistan.

 

 

 


Journalist Waseem Abbasi posted the photo of Pakistan’s largest Rabi Al-Awwal cake ordered by the authorities in the federal capital on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

 

 


Discover Pakistan TV, the country’s first tourism-dedicated outlet, also shared colorful shots from across the country.

 

 

 

 


PM Khan promises rule of law as nation celebrates Mawlid Al-Nabi

Updated 14 min 28 sec ago

PM Khan promises rule of law as nation celebrates Mawlid Al-Nabi

  • Says will strive to create welfare state in following the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
  • Birthday of Prophet (PBUH) is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal by Muslims all over the world

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday his government wanted to establish the rule of law in the country by following the principles established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which required a state to hold its powerful citizens accountable for their misdeeds as well.
Khan made the comment while addressing a national conference in Islamabad as people across the country celebrated Mawlid Al-Nabi – or the birth anniversary of the Prophet (PBUH) – with traditional religious fervor.
The Prophet’s birth anniversary is observed on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, by Muslims all over the world.
The prime minister emphasized in his speech no society could progress without maintaining equal standards of justice for everyone.
“The central pillars of the State of Madinah established by our Prophet (PBUH) were morality and rule of law,” he noted. “A welfare state always looks after its people irrespective of their status. We will have to make the powerful abide by the laws of this country. Otherwise, we will not be able to fix the system.”
He said a leader should be honest and trustworthy, adding that the two qualities were also quite prominent in the Prophet’s own personality.
Khan reiterated he was striving to implement in his country the political ideals that were central to the State of Madinah.
“I will keep on fighting for the rule of law in the country until my last breath,” he continued. “We have to bring the powerful within the ambit of the rule of law.”
The prime minister said his government had formed a special authority to apprise the people about the life and teachings of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH).
“Children have access to all types of information through mobile phones these days,” he said. “The challenge is to show them the right path and direction. The newly established authority will provide guidance to our youth by showing them different aspects of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”
He added the objective of setting up an Islamic welfare state that followed the principles of the State of Madinah had been there in his party’s manifesto for 25 years.
“Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave women right to property which they did not have it before,” he said. “The State of Madinah also introduced the concept of providing pension to older people.”
Earlier, while addressing the first session of the conference, President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasized the need for promoting unity among Muslims in the light of the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH).
“The last Prophet preached not to spread discord and said that Muslims were united like a single body,” Alvi said, adding that the revolution that emerged from the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah had truly transformed the world.
“I have a firm belief that change in Pakistan and the Muslim world will once again come from the mosque which holds special significance in the character building of a nation,” he maintained.
A special documentary on the life of the Prophet (PBUH) was also screened at the conference.


Pakistan navy says ‘blocked’ Indian submarine from entering its waters last week

Updated 19 October 2021

Pakistan navy says ‘blocked’ Indian submarine from entering its waters last week

  • The Indian submarine was detected on October 16, Pakistan navy said in a press release
  • Says this was third such incident in recent years, reflects Pakistan’s resolve to defend maritime frontiers 

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani navy detected an Indian submarine off the Pakistani coast and prevented it from entering its waters last week, it said on Tuesday.
The submarine was detected on October 16, the navy said in a press release.
“During the prevailing security milieu, a strict monitoring watch has been kept by Pakistan Navy to safeguard maritime frontiers of Pakistan,” the navy said. “It is the third incident of its kind wherein, an Indian Naval Submarine has been prematurely detected and tracked by PN Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.”

Aerial image captured by a Pakistani military patrol aircraft on October 16, 2021 of Indian submarine attempting to enter Pakistani waters  - ISPR (Pakistan Army) 

The recent incident was an example, the navy said, of Pakistan’s resolve “to defend maritime frontiers of the Motherland.”

Relations between longtime rivals Pakistan and India have been particularly strained in the last two years, particularly since 2019 when India withdrew Indian-administered Kashmir’s autonomy in order to tighten its grip over the territory, sparking outrage in Pakistan, the downgrading of diplomatic ties and a suspension of bilateral trade.
Kashmir lies at the heart of the tension. The countries, who both claim it in full but rule it in part, have fought two of their three wars over the region since partition and independence from Britain in 1947.