Pakistan third biggest contestant in Saudi Qur’an, Adhan competitions

The top five countries in terms of highest registration rates include Saudi Arabia (6,169), Egypt (3,335), Pakistan (1,421), Indonesia (1,184) and India (828). (Shutterstock)
Updated 27 July 2019

Pakistan third biggest contestant in Saudi Qur’an, Adhan competitions

  • Around 30,000 Muslims from across the world registered to participate in the twin contests
  • Saudi authorities says contests aim to highlight Islam that rejects ‘extremism and intolerance in all its forms’

ISLAMABAD: More than 1,400 Pakistanis have registered to participate in Qur’an recitation and Adhan competitions announced by Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority on May 22, making the South Asian nation the third biggest contestant in the race after the Saudis and Egyptians.
In all, 30,000 Muslims from around the world have registered to participate in the competitions, 17,050 for the Qur’an recitation contest and 12,950 for the Adhan competition. The top five countries in terms of highest registration rates include Saudi Arabia (6,169), Egypt (3,335), Pakistan (1,421), Indonesia (1,184) and India (828).
Saudi authorities announced the unique religious race last month, aiming to highlight “the diversity of the cultures of the Islamic world, which is reflected in the different methods of reciting the Qur’an and raising the Adhan.”
The organizers of the two contests told the media they were hoping to encourage a better understanding of the Qur’an and its recitation among young Muslims and sought to promote moderate Islam that rejected “extremism and intolerance in all its forms.”
The Kingdom’s General Authority for Entertainment on Thursday extended the registration deadline from June 22 to August 18 due to the overwhelming response.
The extension is expected to benefit thousands of aspiring participants who have not managed to register as yet, guaranteeing a large turnout from across the world.
Saudi authorities have also promised to distribute prizes of 12,000,000 riyals among the participants with “the most beautiful and influential voices.”


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”