Over 2,100 Pakistani prisoners to be freed from Saudi jails

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails. (SPA)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Over 2,100 Pakistani prisoners to be freed from Saudi jails

  • In a tweet, Qureshi said the cases of other prisoners would also be reviewed

ISLAMABAD, RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners from jails in the Kingdom.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced the news on Monday, and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on behalf of his country’s people thanked the crown prince for his gesture.

In a tweet, Qureshi said the cases of other prisoners would also be reviewed. The move came in response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request for the release of 3,000 Pakistanis currently being held in Saudi prisons.

Khan’s plea came on Monday night during a ceremony in honor of the crown prince’s visit to Pakistan. In an immediate reply, the crown prince said the Kingdom “cannot say no to Pakistan,” and promised to investigate the matter.

Khan said in a tweet: “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman won the hearts of the people of Pakistan when he said, ‘consider me Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia’ in response to my asking him to treat the 2.5 million Pakistani’s working in KSA as his own.”

Welcoming the decision, Dr. Khalid Abbas Alasadi, an author, said: “It’s a great news for every Pakistani. This shows that the crown prince cares about all Pakistani people.”

The crown prince arrived in Islamabad on Sunday for a two-day visit to Pakistan on the first leg of his Asia tour. The visit has been described as “highly successful.”


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.