Pakistan-China bus service to start from November

Pakistan and North-South Transport Network (NSTN), will launch a bus service between Pakistan and China from Nov. 3, 2018. (Photo courtesy: NSTN courtesy)
Updated 30 October 2018

Pakistan-China bus service to start from November

  • Luxury transport facility will take commuters from Lahore to Kashgar
  • PM Khan to embark on his first trip to Beijing in less than a week

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to China on November 3, a private company said on Tuesday that it will launch a bus service connecting the two countries on the same date.
The North South Transport Network (NSTN) is undertaking the initiative under the flagship of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The service, which commences on November 3, will be operational from Pakistan’s second largest city of Lahore to Kashgar in China. The journey itself is expected to clock 30 hours while providing a picturesque view of Pakistan's northern areas along the way.
While a one-way will cost commuters Rs13,000, a return ticket is priced at Rs23,000, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. According to the NSTN, passengers will be provided with meals, refreshment beverages, tea and snacks and free internet.  
Pakistan and China are linked through a land route which is used for both trade and travel. In 2015, the two countries launched the CPEC, a flagship project worth $60 billion.
Both the countries maintain traditionally-close, cooperative and friendly ties in diverse fields. As part of his visit, PM Khan is expected to participate in the First China International Import Expo, in Shanghai, where Pakistan is exhibiting a wide range of export products.

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.