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 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.