50,000 tribals ‘ready to fight against Houthis’

Updated 17 June 2015

50,000 tribals ‘ready to fight against Houthis’

RIYADH: Former Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Omar Khan Ali Sherzai said that as many as 50,000 tribal fighters will be ready if the Saudi-led coalition needs their services.

“If and when the coalition decides to send ground forces to fight in Yemen, these Pakistani tribal fighters would be ready to boost the capability of coalition forces,” Sherzai said during a press conference on Monday night.
He said that the Pakistanis love the Saudi people and the Kingdom and do not agree with the decision of the Parliament to remain neutral in the conflict in Yemen.
Earlier, the Kingdom requested Pakistan to join the Saudi-led coalition but its Parliament opted to remain neutral.
“The tribal fighters have never lost a war and do not ask for anything in return for their services except food and accommodation,” said Sherzai.
He said that 200 leaders from the Orakzai tribe called on him recently to discuss the possibility of fighting for the Saudi-led coalition because “we love Saudi Arabia and the Two Holy Mosques.”
Sherzai said the fighters headed by tribal leader could be supported by more than 15 tribes and seven Federally Administered Tribal Agencies.
Before he came to the Kingdom a few days ago, he met with acting Saudi ambassador to Islamabad, Jassem Al-Khaldi, to discuss the tribal offer and the latter said he would relay the message to the top officials here.
“The people of Pakistan did not agree with the decision of the Parliament to remain neutral in the conflict in Yemen,” said Sherhai, who was Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2009 to 2011.
This is the reason, he added, why the tribal fighters are willing to come if and when the Saudi-led coalition decides to send ground forces to Yemen and restore the legitimate government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Sherzai, who also served as consul general in Jeddah and deputy chief of mission in Riyadh, added that the tribal people are independent since the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
He said that there was an agreement with the tribes that the government won’t intrude into their cultural system and ruled through an “indirect governing system” known as jirga.
“Each tribal agency has a political agent representing the federal government,” Sherzai said.

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.