Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh marks Independence Day

Acting Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Bilal Ahmad speaks at the 73rd Independence Day ceremony in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2019

Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh marks Independence Day

RIYADH: The Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh marked the 73rd Independence Day on Wednesday, during which acting Ambassador Dr. Bilal Ahmad unfurled the national flag. 

“Pakistani expatriates joined the flag-hoisting ceremony at the embassy … in large numbers to mark Independence Day, and to express solidarity with Kashmiri brothers and sisters,” an embassy spokesman said.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under an unprecedented lockdown since last week after New Delhi revoked Article 370, a constitutional provision granting the region special status.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the “illegal and unilateral” move, and has downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended trade with India.

At the ceremony, Ahmad read out messages from Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

They paid tribute to those who fought and sacrificed to achieve independence, and called on citizens to strive to make Pakistan a prosperous and dignified country.

Ahmad said Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.

Recently, Raja Ali Ejaz, ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, said: “We are proud to have developed into a modern state in the comity of nations through untiring efforts by the people and visionary leadership. Pakistan, a country of 200 million people, is today a progressive Islamic state with an active Parliament, independent judiciary, free media and vibrant civil society.”

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 6 min 29 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.