Punjab chief minister leaves for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah

The undated file photo shows Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar speaking to the media. Buzdar left for Saudi Arabia on Friday to perform Umrah, an Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that can be undertaken at any time of the year. (APP)
Updated 14 September 2019

Punjab chief minister leaves for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah

  • CM Usman Buzdar is undertaking the journey in private capacity
  • Buzdar desires to participate in the washing ceremony of Holy Kaaba

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar left for Saudi Arabia on Friday to perform Umrah, an Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that can be undertaken at any time of the year.
It will be his second journey to the holy Muslim city this year since he also performed Umrah with his family in February.
“The chief minister is not going there in his official capacity,” Muhammad Rafiullah, a public relations officer at the CM Secretariat, told Arab News. “An additional chief secretary of the provincial administration along with another officer will also accompany him. All of them are going there in their private capacity and will spend money from their own pocket.”
The chief minister reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore without protocol, received his boarding card, and waited in the queue with other passengers.
“He will stay in Muscat and then go to Madinah. He will pray for the solidarity of the country as well as for the freedom of the people of Kashmir,” he added.
Sources say that while Buzdar is going to the Kingdom in his private capacity, he desires to participate in the washing ceremony of the Holy Kaaba.
“He desires to be among the lucky individuals who are going to participate in the ceremony,” another official at the CM office told Arab News, requesting not to be named. “He will spend that entire day in the House of God.”


Gunmen kill journalist in northwestern Pakistan

Updated 19 min 23 sec ago

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.