Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Saudi Arabia on Sept. 19, says Qureshi

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, and his wife, left, visiting Al-Masjid an-Nabawī mosque in the Western Saudi city of Madinah, upon his arrival to attend the summits of Islamic nations in the Saudi holy city on Makkah on May 30, 2019. (SPA/File)
Updated 17 September 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Saudi Arabia on Sept. 19, says Qureshi

  • Khan will be traveling to Saudi Arabia on his way to the US ahead of the UNGA session
  • Pakistan and Saudi Arabia ‘have to deliberate on further measures’ – Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Saudi Arabia on September 19, alongside foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, ahead of their trip to the United States for the UN General Assembly session, Qureshi said on Tuesday.
Addressing the All Parties Kashmir Conference organized by PTI Punjab in Lahore, Qureshi said, "We have important sittings over there. Keeping those sittings at the forefront, we will have to deliberate on further measures."
"I think it is enough to say just this right now," he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Radio Pakistan reported a telephone conversation had taken place between PM Khan and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, with a focus on the attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia.
PM Khan expressed Pakistan's support for Saudi Arabia and "its full stand with all its potentials in confronting these sabotage acts which threaten the global economy and the kingdom's security.”
This is the third time that the two leaders have spoken over the phone since August.
Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes at a crucial time, as Pakistan attempts to garner support for its narrative on Kashmir after India abolished the limited constitutional autonomy of the disputed Himalayan territory on August 5.
Khan will fly on to the US after concluding his trip to Saudi Arabia. Earlier this week, foreign office spokesperson, Dr. Muhammad Faisal, told Arab News that Khan is also expected to “visit Saudi Arabia on his way back to Pakistan after [the] UNGA [session].”
The Kingdom and its Gulf ally, the United Arab Emirates, have always maintained strong diplomatic relations with Pakistan, with the kingdom pledging to invest $21 billion in the South Asian country, during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to Islamabad in February this year.


Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

Updated 09 August 2020

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

  • Islamabad’s PIMS hospital had less than 10 coronavirus patients before Eid Al-Adha but new patients coming in since
  • Pakistan announced on Thursday it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and infectious disease experts on Thursday warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to a premature lifting of restrictions, as the government announced a day earlier that it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan shut schools and land borders nearly five months ago, decided to limit domestic and international flights and discouraged large gatherings to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But with infections and deaths down nearly 80 percent since their peak as per government records, the government decided on Thursday to lift the lockdowns to help the country return to normalcy.
Pakistan celebrated the Eid Al-Adha religious holiday last week. After the last major Islamic festival, of Eid Al-Fitr, in May, infections rose to their peak in Pakistan.
Dr. Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, told Arab News the coronavirus ward at her hospital only had five to six patients before Eid, but new patients had once again started coming in.
“Cases registered a sharp increase after Eid Al-Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said, adding that the government should have waited at least two more weeks to reopen restaurants and other public places.
“This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.
The World Health Organization has said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, saw a new outbreak.
“The next week is crucial to see if the infections soar as just one week has passed now since the Eid holidays,” Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association, told Arab News.

 

 

Cases could also surge during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins in late August, he said, and due to independence day celebrations on August 14. Huge crowds come out all over the world, including in Muslim-majority Pakistan, to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
“We think that the opening of all these things in a hurry ... probably this will create problems for us,” Sajjad said.
He said infections had risen sharply in the United States and Brazil after the nations lifted restrictions when cases initially declined. Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Aug 6, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Javed Akram, however, called the reopening of public places a “wise decision.”
“The government cannot keep the cities and businesses under lockdown forever,” he said. “People should follow health guidelines to fight the virus.”