JEDDAH: The level of trust enjoyed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is “very high,” Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah, Shehryar Akbar Khan, told Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas.
Khan visited the newspaper’s headquarters on Tuesday and congratulated Abbas on the successful launch of its Pakistan Edition.
“Heartiest congratulations on launching ArabNews.pk. We have many of the Pakistani diaspora here in Saudi Arabia who read Arab News on a daily basis, and they are now also turning to the PK edition,” Khan said.
“Likewise, there are many who have returned to Pakistan who are interested in keeping up with the news in and about Saudi Arabia. They have a good opportunity by going to the website.”
Referring to the Arab News interview with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khan said: “You had the interview on the front page, and that was highly appreciated by the Pakistani community.”
The fact that Arab News chose Pakistan as its first edition abroad “underlines and strengthens the bonds and ties that exist between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,” he said.
“Our relationship at any level — whether people to people, government to government or military to military — is always the highest. Of that, there is no question,” he said.
“We are proud that ArabNews.pk has been launched. It is the first edition to be launched outside Saudi Arabia,” he added.
“Arab News is the leading English-language newspaper in Saudi Arabia, and I am sure it will find a great many readers in Pakistan.”
Khan said of his first meeting with Abbas: “I was very favorably impressed. We had a very open and candid discussion, and we wish him and his team the best of luck and success for their project in Pakistan.”
Talking about the launch of the Pakistan Edition, Abbas said: “You have the brand recognition. You have a bureau chief (Baker Atyani) who already knows the language. So the stars were aligned in our favor. The feedback is excellent.”
The Saudi-Pakistani relationship “has a very strong foundation. It is unshakable. We can agree or disagree about a particular point, but the underlying foundation remains,” he added.
“A country like Iran, or any other country, cannot alter this equation because we have layer upon layer — economic, political, religious — along with strategic cooperation between the two countries.”
Describing the mission of Arab News in going global, Abbas said: “We feel that there is a lot of change going on. This was my first visit to Islamabad, but it will definitely not be the last. I felt the people’s affection and their love for the Kingdom.”
But “their idea about Saudi Arabia is dated... It is 30 or 40 years old,” he said. “They are sometimes unaware of the changes that have taken place in the last 10 years, or even the changes that have occurred in the last two years alone, which are massive. Arab News wants to convey through our Pakistan Edition the changing face of Saudi Arabia.”
The consul general was accompanied by Press Consul M. Arshad Munir.