Pakistan PM attends closing ceremony of Gulf Shield-1 military exercise

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Prince Saud Bin Nayef Al Saud and Pakistan Premier Abbasi hold talks. (Photo courtesy: Prime Minister Office) 
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Prince Saud Bin Nayef walks with PM Abbasi on red carpet after receiving him at King Abdulaziz Airbase Dhahran. (Photo courtesy: Prime Minister Office)
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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi meeting with the Governor of Eastern Province Prince Saud Bin Nayef. (Photo courtesy: Prime Minister Office)
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Prince Saud bin Nayef Al Saud with Saudi officials and Pakistan Prime Minister Abbasi with his delegation discussing matters of mutual interest and cooperation. (Photo courtesy: Prime Minister Office)
Updated 16 April 2018

Pakistan PM attends closing ceremony of Gulf Shield-1 military exercise

  • He is accompanied by Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa
  • It is the largest military drill in the region in terms of diversity of troops, weapons systems and operational maneuvering

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is in Saudi Arabia on a two-day official visit to attend the closing ceremony of the 24-nation Gulf Shield-1 joint military exercise, reported Radio Pakistan.
He is accompanied by Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The month-long exercise, aimed at strengthening military and security cooperation among regional countries, concludes on Monday. Pakistani ground, air, naval and special forces are participating.
It is the largest military exercise in the region in terms of diversity of troops, weapons systems and operational maneuvering.
Abbasi was received by the governor of the Eastern Province, Prince Saud bin Nayef. Pakistani Ambassador Khan Hasham bin Saddique and Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Al-Maliki were also present.


India’s Magsaysay award winner says ‘democracy is in danger’

Updated 07 October 2019

India’s Magsaysay award winner says ‘democracy is in danger’

  • Kumar is pained by the decline of independent institutions that have upheld the flags of democracy for more than seven decades

NEW DELHI: Ravish Kumar is nervous about the “danger that Indian democracy is facing today” and how “a systematic attempt is being made by the ruling establishment in Delhi to suppress all the dissenting voices in the country.

“Journalism prepares you to face the unknown everyday, so I was not really surprised when I got the call from the (Magsaysay) award committee,” Kumar said.

“The problem was that I was asked to keep it a secret until they had made a public announcement. It was painful to keep quiet for almost a month,” he told Arab News with a smile.

“When the news became public, I realized what I had been bestowed with. I feel the award is a vindication of trust in good journalism. People felt as if the award had been bestowed on them,” he added.

It is this concern for democracy and its institutions that earned Kumar the prestigious Magsaysay award for 2019.

Instituted in 1957, it is awarded every year by the Philippine government in memory of its former president Ramon Magsaysay for “integrity in governance, courageous service to the people and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.”

Kumar, who works as a managing editor of India’s leading bilingual TV channel, NDTV, has created a niche for himself in the world of journalism with his daily primetime show, which draws huge audiences from across India. 

At a time when most mainstream TV channels and newspapers have stopped questioning the government and challenging its narrative, Kumar’s reporting takes a critical approach to the lawmakers.

For this constant critique of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the government does not send any of its spokespersons on his show or the channel.

He laments that a large section of the Indian media has become “an extended arm of the government and the mouthpiece of the establishment.”

For his outspoken attitude, Kumar and his family have received threats from “people who are subsidized by the ruling party.”

“I don’t have any hope for the media. It is dead in the country. Just a few are holding the placard of fearless journalism,” he said, adding that “the death of independent media has affected true reporting from Jammu and Kashmir.

“The situation in the region is so bad that after the abrogation of its special status, even the significant moderate voices in India have been pushed to the militant camps,” he said.

Describing the government’s policy on Kashmir as “brazen,” he questioned the “audacity of the government to hold local body elections in the valley when there is a complete lockdown.

Kumar is pained by the decline of independent institutions that have upheld the flags of democracy for more than seven decades, adding that he was aghast at the Supreme Court’s silence on the abrogation.

“Why is it taking so long for the apex court to intervene on the issue of the internet lockdown in the Kashmir valley? Can you imagine the American Supreme Court behaving the way the Indian judiciary is acting on such a crucial issue?” He asked.

He said that the decline of independent institutions such as the media, judiciary and election commission is gradually creating a democratic imbalance.

Kumar understands the award has given an extra responsibility on him and that he felt “burdened with expectations.” So great are those expectations, he has not ruled out entering politics.

“Politics is a good thing. I tell everyone to join politics,” he said, adding that his current responsibility is to “warn people about the danger that is lurking in Indian society.”