Fans upset with last-minute Rahat Fateh Riyadh concert cancellation

Updated 03 November 2018

Fans upset with last-minute Rahat Fateh Riyadh concert cancellation

RIYADH: Legendary Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan left fans shocked and disappointed after a last-minute cancelation of his performance on Friday night at Riyadh’s King Fahad Culture Center, citing political strife in Pakistan.
About 3,000 people, mainly Pakistani and Indian expatriates, had already arrived at the venue, when the announcement of cancelation was made.
Rahat’s first concert in Saudi Arabia was completely sold out in less than three days with ticket’s ranging in price from SR100 to SR1,000.
Rahat, who pulled out of the show at the eleventh hour, said: “I, along with the Pakistani embassy and the Saudi government agencies decided to postpone the show keeping in the situation in Pakistan.”
The singer, however, said that he was “completely overwhelmed by the love and respect I got in Riyadh.”
Rahat also said: “I promise I will do my best to make this up to everybody I’ve let down today, I will definitely perform in Riyadh later, when the situation improves. I will come back to perform as soon as normalcy is restored in Pakistan.”
The situation in Pakistan worsened on Friday after the assassination of a high-profile Islamic cleric and politician Sami-ul-Haq.
Ul-Haq was killed at his home in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, protesters continued to block highways and forced the closing of schools and businesses in the aftermath, after Asia Bibi, convicted in 2010 on evidence of violating new Pakistani blasphemy laws, was acquitted by the country’s supreme court last Wednesday.
Rahat, a top Pakistan musician and playback singer of Bollywood and Pakistani film industry, has judged several television shows. He is also the first Pakistani singer to perform at the Noble Prize Concert in 2014.
He has won dozens of prestigious national and international awards including Lux Style Awards, Pakistan Media Award, Filmfare Award, and IIFA Award.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.