President Alvi underlines strong Pak-Saudi ties during visit to Madinah

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Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi with the deputy governor of Madina, Prince Saud bin Khalid bin Faisal, at the Madinah airport. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
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Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi offers prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
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President Alvi was received by the deputy governor of Madina, Prince Saud bin Khalid bin Faisal at the airport. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
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Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi offered prayers for the prosperity and development of Pakistan and for Muslims around the world. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
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Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi during his visit to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
Updated 11 December 2018

President Alvi underlines strong Pak-Saudi ties during visit to Madinah

  • Marks first visit to the Kingdom after assuming office in September
  • Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close bilateral relations

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi visited the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Monday after performing Umrah, marking his first visit to the Kingdom since assuming office in September this year.
He was received by Saudi officials, with Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki accompanying the president on his journey.
“He offered prayers for the prosperity and development of Pakistan and also for the Muslim Ummah,” a statement released by his office on Tuesday read.
Earlier on Sunday, President Alvi was received at the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport by an entourage of top officials which included Prince Saud Bin Khalid Bin Faisal, deputy governor of Madinah, and Pakistan’s consul-general, Sheheryar Akbar Khan.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close bilateral relations, with historic trade ties and religious affinity providing a strong basis of trust between the two countries. The Kingdom has always extended support for Pakistani nationals to perform Umrah and Hajj. This week, on Monday, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to increase the annual Hajj quota for Pakistan in 2019.
Targeting an increase of 5,000 pilgrims next year, authorities said nearly 184,210 Pakistanis will be able to perform Hajj.
Earlier this month, the government said it has reduced the visa fee for Saudi nationals who wish to travel to the country, with an aim to increase people-to-people contact between the two countries.
In October this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accepted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal to reduce the visa fee for Pakistani workers which Pakistan considers as a significant step toward supporting its workforce in Saudi Arabia, as well as facilitating the travel of people between both the countries.


Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

Updated 15 September 2019

Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

  • Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region
  • New Delhi last month to revoked the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status

SRINAGAR, India: Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, a senior government source said.
Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi’s controversial decision last month to revoke the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status.
Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of Internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India — mostly in the largest city Srinagar — have been constant, the source said late Saturday.
Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.
Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.
Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.
So far more than 4,100 people — including 170 local political leaders — have been detained across the valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the official said.
It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.
Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.
The relatives of four of those killed said they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths.
The latest updates came as police said Thursday that three men suspected of belonging to a Pakistan-based militant organization were arrested while transporting weapons and ammunition toward Indian Kashmir.
Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, which was split between the two countries in 1947.
India deployed extra troops ahead of the August 5 decision to reinforce some 500,000 soldiers already stationed in the region, one of the most militarized places on the planet.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday promised to raise the decision to strip Indian Kashmir of its autonomy at the upcoming UN General Assembly session.