Al-Balawi is new Border Guard chief

Updated 31 January 2015

Al-Balawi is new Border Guard chief

The Interior Ministry has appointed a new director-general of the Border Guard.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, announced recently that Maj. Gen. Awad bin Eid Al-Balawi would be placed in this position.
Al-Balawi was appointed acting director-general of the Border Guard in August 2014 following the death of Gen. Zamim Al-Sawat. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Pakistan Naval Academy and master’s degree from the World Maritime University in Sweden.
Al-Balawi previously held various other positions, completed several advanced training courses and attended local and international conferences on conflict management, negotiation skills, problem analysis, crisis environmental management, decision making and piracy.
He also served as the chairman of the standing committee for the management of maritime disasters and participated in the work of international committees fighting piracy.
Al-Balawi was also a member of the Saudi delegation at International Maritime Organization meetings.
Al-Balawi thanked Prince Mohammed bin Naif for appointing him the chief the Border Guard, which is the premier security agency protecting the country’s borders. He said he is now “more motivated to serve Islam, the king and the Kingdom.”
The Border Guard, based in Riyadh, maintains security on the Kingdom’s 8,000-km sea and land borders. It consists of several key departments and subsidiaries and nine affiliated commands in Makkah, Madinah, Eastern Province, Tabuk, Jazan, Northern Border, Asir, Al-Jouf and Najran.

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.