Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, right, said he knows the implications that come with him making such statements. (AFP/File)
Updated 10 August 2019

Pakistan considering various options to counter India’s move in Kashmir – FM Qureshi

  • China says it will fully support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to take Kashmir issue to United Nations
  • Qureshi asks Pakistanis to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir while celebrating independence day

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that his government was considering various options to respond to India’s blatant violation of international law after the administration in New Delhi decided to annex the internationally recognized disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir last Monday.
Qureshi was addressing a news conference in Islamabad after completing from his two-day visit to Beijing where he briefed the Chinese authorities on New Delhi’s attempt to change the demographic structure of Indian-administered Kashmir and sought diplomatic support from his country’s closest international ally.
China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, agreed to support Pakistan as Islamabad prepares to raise the Kashmir issue in the United Nations. Beijing also directed its representative in New York to maintain a close liaison with Pakistani diplomats on the issue.
Observing the deteriorating security situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Qureshi said that Pakistan’s government was “considering other options” to tackle India’s breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 on Kashmir.
Fearing bloodshed as protests by the people of Kashmir begin to gain momentum, the foreign minister said, “We anticipate a rise in tensions as things seem to be moving toward further escalation.”
He continued that Pakistan was not mulling a military response to the situation, though he also added that “we reserve the right to defend our country in case of any [Indian] misadventure.”
India’s recent move in Kashmir threatened regional peace and strained its already fragile relation with Pakistan. In response, Islamabad decided to expel the Indian high commissioner. It also suspended trade with its eastern neighbor and stopped the train service between the two countries.
The foreign minister expressed grave concern over the security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir and highlighted the resulting rights abuses in that territory. He also maintained that India’s “reckless approach” could lead to “false flag operations” in the area since it wanted to blame Pakistan for committing acts of “terrorism.”
Qureshi asked the people of Pakistan to raise the Kashmir flag along with their country’s national colors while celebrating the independence day to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Indian-administered Kashmir.

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.