China says played 'constructive role' in reducing Pakistan, India tension

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is in China on three-day visit, on Monday, he met with Chairman of China’s Institute of Strategic Studies of Maj Gen (R) Gong Xianfu in Beijing – (Photo Courtesy Pakistan Foreign Office)
Updated 19 March 2019

China says played 'constructive role' in reducing Pakistan, India tension

  • China and Pakistan call each other "all-weather" friends
  • Pakistan's foreign minister is currently in China to hold strategic talks

BEIJING: China played a "constructive role" in reducing tension between Pakistan and India, the Chinese foreign ministry said, after the nuclear-armed rivals almost came to blows last month following an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in disputed Kashmir.

The sparring threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by US officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events have told Reuters.

At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes "three times over", said Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.

A Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened to lessen tension between the South Asian neighbours.

In a faxed statement to Reuters late on Monday, responding to a question on China's role in reining in the crisis, its foreign ministry said peaceful coexistence between Pakistan and India was in everyone's interest.
"As a friendly neighbour of both India and Pakistan, China pro-actively promoted peace talks and played a constructive role in easing the tense situation," it said.

"Some other countries also made positive efforts in this regard," the ministry added.

China is willing to work with the international community to continue to encourage the neighbours to meet each other half way and use dialogue and peaceful means to resolve differences, it said, without elaborating.
The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is set to meet Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Beijing later on Tuesday.

The Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers was the deadliest in Kashmir's 30-year-long insurgency, escalating tension between the neighbours, who said they shot down each other's fighter jets late last month.
China and Pakistan call each other "all-weather" friends, but China has also been trying to improve ties with New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an informal summit in China last year agreeing to reset relations, and Xi is expected to visit India sometime this year, diplomatic sources say.


Hundreds of Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia return home on special flight

Updated 31 May 2020

Hundreds of Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia return home on special flight

  • This was the eighth PIA special flight to bring Pakistani nationals back from the Kingdom
  • Earlier, over 15,000 Pakistani Umrah pilgrims were brought home on special flights 

ISLAMABAD: A repatriation flight with 251 stranded Pakistanis on board departed for Karachi from Jeddah, the Consulate General of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia said in a statement on Sunday.
This was the eighth special flight of the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), from Jeddah following the coronavirus related suspension of routine international flight operations in the Kingdom on March 15.

Pakistani nationals wait for a special flight to Karachi at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport on May 31, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah)


“Consul General Khalid Majid and Deputy Consul General Shaiq Ahmed Bhutto were present at Jeddah International Airport to bid farewell to the passengers,” the statement said.

“A total of around 1,700 Pakistanis have so far been repatriated from Jeddah region through seven special flights,” the statement added, and said similar special PIA flights were also being operated from Riyadh region.

Pakistani nationals wait for a special flight to Karachi at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport on May 31, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah)


“Embassy of Pakistan at Riyadh and the Consulate General at Jeddah in close cooperation of PIA, are coordinating arrangements of these special flights in their respective jurisdictions.”

Saudi Arabia halted all international travel and suspended Umrah pilgrimage in response to the pandemic in March this year.

Over the months, Pakistan has brought back over 15,000 of its nationals who had gone to Saudi Arabia for Umrah but found themselves stranded amid coronavirus lockdowns in the Kingdom.