Amir Khan says Pakistan PM Imran Khan will attend Saudi Arabia fight

Amir Khan and Neeraj Goyat will fight in Jeddah on July 12. (Amirkhanpromotions)
Updated 08 June 2019

Amir Khan says Pakistan PM Imran Khan will attend Saudi Arabia fight

  • Confirmation from prime minister’s office awaited
  • Amir Khan will face Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat in Jeddah on July 12

LONDON: British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan said Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan would attend his boxing match in Saudi Arabia next month .
Amir Khan will face Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat in Jeddah on July 12 in a fight that is being billed as an attempt to build bridges between the South Asian rival nations.
“We wrote to the Pakistani prime minister (and) he jumped to the occasion and he said he was going to be at the fight,” Amir Khan told Arab News at a press conference in London.
Promoters also said they hoped Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would also attend — something many would consider unlikely after an escalation in hostilities in the disputed Kashmir region earlier this year.
However, Imran Khan’s government has repeatedly said it would be open to talks with India.
Amir Khan met the prime minister in October last year during a visit to Pakistan just two months after the cricket legend turned politician took office.
Khan’s fight against the former NMA fighter Goyat, will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City during Saudi Seasons.
The former unified world welterweight champion has visited Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions, including for pilgrimages.
Speaking at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh in November, he said he wanted to open a boxing academy in the Kingdom.
At Thursday’s press conference, he reflected on his experiences in Saudi Arabia.
“When I was there last, it had all changed. I started seeing women not wearing head scarves. Women were out driving,” Khan said. “They had a huge concert where everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. I’d never seen that side of Saudi Arabia before.
“Maybe now they are changing to make it that new place where people can enjoy themselves and it’s fair for women.”
Khan also thanked the Saudi government and General Sports Authority for giving giving him the opportunity to fight in Jeddah.
Khan stepped onto the world boxing stage at just 17 when he won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
In April, the 32 year old lost to WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Goyat, from Chandigarh, has helped establish professional boxing in India.

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.