“All-out efforts” being made to bring Pakistani Hajjis home on schedule — PIA CEO

Post-Hajj flight operations to bring the pilgrims home commenced on August 17 in Jeddah and will continue until September 15. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2019

“All-out efforts” being made to bring Pakistani Hajjis home on schedule — PIA CEO

  • Calls Hajj operations a success, says 90 percent efficiency achieved in pre-Hajj flights
  • Around 200,000 Pakistanis performed Hajj this year, post-hajj flights to continue until Sept 15

ISLAMABAD: Air Marshal Arshad Malik, President and CEO of Pakistan’s national carrier, on Friday called Hajj flight operations a “success,” saying Pakistan International Airlines was making “all-efforts” to ensure that pilgrims returned home on time.
Over 200,000 Pakistanis performed Hajj this year, according to figures from the Pakistani religious affairs ministry. Post-Hajj flight operations to bring the pilgrims home commenced on August 17 in Jeddah and will continue until September 15.
“He [PIA CEO] termed the ongoing Hajj operation a success with almost 90 percent efficiency achieved in the pre-Hajj flight operation,” the finance ministry said in a statement released on Friday, adding that similar results were expected in post-Hajj flight operations “for which all-out efforts were made to bring back the pilgrims as per schedule.”
Saudi Arabia extended its flagship “Road to Makkah” project to Pakistan during a February visit to Islamabad by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, after which it was announced that all pilgrims traveling from Pakistan would be able to clear immigration at local airports in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. Malaysia and Indonesia are also part of the project.
Pakistani nationals constitute the third largest group, after Saudis and Indonesians, to perform Hajj each year.


Gunmen kill journalist in northwestern Pakistan

Updated 26 February 2020

Gunmen kill journalist in northwestern Pakistan

  • Javedullah Khan was traveling with a police guard when two gunmen opened fire on his vehicle
  • Police says it was a targeted attack

PESHAWAR: A Pakistan journalist whose relatives were members of an anti-Taliban group has been gunned down, police confirmed Wednesday, the latest attack targeting media in the restive northwest of the country.
Javedullah Khan, 36, was shot dead late Tuesday in Matta, a former militant stronghold some 40-kilometers (24 miles) northwest of Pakistan’s picturesque Swat valley.
He worked as a bureau chief for the Urdu language newspaper Ausaf.
“Javed was traveling with a police guard when two gunmen opened fire on his vehicle. He died on the spot,” senior police official Muhammad Ijaz Khan told AFP.
Ali Muhammad a local police official, also confirmed the incident.
“It was a targeted attack,” Muhammad added.
“Many of his relatives, including a brother, uncles, and cousins were killed due to their involvement in anti-Taliban peace committees.”
For years, Pakistan has encouraged tribal vigilante forces, known locally as peace committees, to defend their villages against militants.
Most have been disbanded following a dramatic improvement in security across the country.
While militant networks have been severely disrupted in recent years, insurgents still retain the ability to launch attacks.
Amnesty International said Khan was an “exceptionally brave journalist” and called for an independent investigation into his killing.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but militants have long targeted pro-government tribal elders in the past.
Pakistan routinely ranks among the world’s most dangerous countries for media workers, and reporters have frequently been detained, beaten and even killed for being critical of the powerful military or Islamist militants.