Pak-Saudi Arabia relations instrumental in regional peace

Updated 23 March 2013

Pak-Saudi Arabia relations instrumental in regional peace

ON the auspicious occasion of the National Day of Pakistan, I wish to convey my deepest felicitations to all Pakistanis particularly those residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Seventy-three years ago, the Muslims of South Asia resolved to establish an independent state where they could lead their lives in accordance with the Islamic ideals of freedom, sovereignty, democracy, equality, justice, tolerance and non-discrimination. These founding principles were faithfully upheld by our forefathers under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah during the glorious struggle which led to the establishment of Pakistan. After independence, these principles formed the legal and political foundation of Pakistan.
Since its establishment, Pakistan has faced several challenges. And each time it emerged more resilient and stronger after successfully dealing with these challenges.
As in the past, our nation is determined to tackle the challenges we face today with an unwavering sense of obligation to the founding principles of Pakistan. We must seek inspiration from numerous sacrifices rendered by our nation in the making of Pakistan, in protecting our sovereignty and independence and in sustaining social and economic development of our country.
On this occasion, I also wish to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the vibrant and dynamic Pakistan community in Saudi Arabia. Our community has served both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with characteristic fervor, loyalty, commitment, diligence and dedication. It is, in fact, the most unmistakable link between our two countries. It is my hope that members of the Pakistan community will continue to contribute to the socio-economic development of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and to Pakistan's brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia, which is their second home.
The Consulate General of Pakistan, Jeddah, has always striven to provide the best possible consular and welfare services to all members of our industrious community. We are planning several initiatives to further improve these and other services at the consulate. I am sure that the cooperation and support of Pakistanis in the Kingdom will remain available to us in this endeavor.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share common political, strategic and economic objectives. We have jointly worked to achieve durable peace and security for our region and beyond. We are also determined to promote sustainable socio-economic development not only for our respective peoples but also for the Islamic Ummah at large.
Let us pledge to redouble our efforts to further deepen the existing all weather and time tested relationship between Pakistan and brotherly Saudi Arabia.
Let us pray for the security and prosperity of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Long live Pakistan! Long live Pakistan-Saudi Arabia friendship!

Aftab A. Khokhar
Consul General of Pakistan

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.