to bring Pakistan and Middle East perspectives closer

Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan with Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas at the launch event on Thursday.
Updated 09 February 2018
0 to bring Pakistan and Middle East perspectives closer

ISLAMABAD: With a mission statement of “Bringing the Arab perspective to Pakistan… and vice versa,” Arab News — the Middle East’s leading English-language daily — launched its localized digital edition on Thursday at a gala dinner in the capital.
Attended by dignitaries including diplomats, academics and senior journalists, the guest of honor at the ceremony was Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, who gave the keynote speech.
“I see the launch of the Pakistan edition of Arab News as a sign of a more connected, peaceful, normal Pakistan,” he said.
“My congratulations to the Pakistan team that is launching this new edition. I commend the editors… of Arab News and its owners for taking this far-sighted decision to become part of the success story of Pakistan.”
Other speakers included Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who flew in from Saudi Arabia — where the newspaper is headquartered — to attend the inauguration.
“There is a special bond that brings Saudi Arabia and Pakistan together. And just like Pakistanis were — and will always be — welcome in the Kingdom, we hope that you welcome Arab News to your country and consider it one of your own,” he said.
Abbas thanked Baker Atyani, the newspaper’s South Asia bureau chief, and his team for their enormous efforts in the past few months to ensure that becomes a reality.
Atyani said it was an honor and responsibility to head this project, which aims to “bring Pakistan’s perspective to the Middle East and to English readers all over the world.”
Attendees hailed it as an addition to Pakistan’s booming media industry, and expressed hope that this will help further strengthen relations between Islamabad and Riyadh.
“It is a delightful moment not only for Pakistan but for the whole region, as Arab News’ Pakistan edition is going to be an authentic source of information for all,” said former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
He told Arab News that he has been a regular reader of the newspaper since 1988, when he was first appointed to the Pakistani Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistan edition will provide new opportunities for aspiring journalists, and for the country’s skilled labor to explore job openings in the Kingdom, he said.
Noted political analyst Mosharraf Zaidi said: “Arab News is a credible source of information in the Middle East, and I hope this will generate sufficient traffic for its Pakistan edition through exclusive news stories.”
Pakistan has a longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia in all fields, and the launch of the Pakistan edition is yet another manifestation of that, he added.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, renowned academic and researcher, lauded the launch ceremony.
The Pakistan edition “will provide us an opportunity to articulate Pakistan’s perspective to the Arab world and get first-hand information about the region, especially the Middle East,” he said.

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 26 min 33 sec ago

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.