Saudi National Day gels Pakistani expats with host community

In this undated photo, Dr. Khalid Abbas Asadi presents his book 'Pak-Saudi Friendship' to an educationist, Dr Abdul Hamid Al-Jahni, at the Ministry of Education, Madinah. (Photo Courtesy: Dr. Asadi)
Updated 21 September 2019

Saudi National Day gels Pakistani expats with host community

  • Saudis are generous and loyal friends, with profound love for Pakistanis, says distinguished Madinah based Dr. Asadi
  • Saudi-Pak relationship has strengthened under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, expat opines

ISLAMABAD: The decades-old bilateral and brotherly relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is rapidly widening into trade and economic cooperation under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said a distinguished Pakistani doctor practicing medicine in the Kingdom for more than three decades, ahead of the Saudi National Day festivities on Monday.
“Saudi Arabia has always extended economic cooperation to Pakistan to help strengthen its economy, besides providing jobs to tens of thousands of nationals of the South Asian state,” Dr. Khalid Abbas Asadi, who has served the renowned Dr. Hamid Sulaiman Al-Ahmadi Hospital in Madinah since 1986, told Arab News on Friday.
He said Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia were also preparing to participate in the festivities that have begun across the Kingdom to celebrate its 89th National Day. “We have planned a number of events here [at the hospital] and decorated the medical facility to celebrate the day with our patients and staff,” he said.
Saudis celebrate their National Day on September 23 every year to commemorate the renaming of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to Saudi Arabia by a royal decree from King Abdulaziz bin Saud in 1932. The day is celebrated with folk dances, songs and traditional festivals. Roads and buildings across the Kingdom are also decorated with Saudi flags and people wear green shirts to mark the occasion.
Pakistani expats along with people of other nationalities also celebrate the day out of respect and admiration for the country. “Saudi National Day is unique and special for Pakistani expats because we have decades-old spiritual and bilateral relationship based on mutual respect and dignity,” Asadi added.
The doctor, who has also written a lyrical book on Saudi Arabia’s ties with Pakistan, said that Pakistani expats would enjoy the National Day holidays and “get a chance to immerse in the local culture by attending different exhibitions and music concerts.”
Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest job providers to Pakistanis. Nearly 5.3 million people from this country have served different sectors of the Kingdom’s economy since 1971.
Also, the Kingdom has been one of the top contributors to Pakistani remittances as Islamabad received $5 billion from Saudi Arabia out of a total inflow of $21.8 billion in 2018.
“I told Prime Minister Imran Khan that Saudi Arabia was a trusted and all-weather friend of Pakistan, and Islamabad should endeavor to get Saudi investment in oil and other sectors to support its ailing economy,” Asadi, who met the premier at Jeddah’s Royal Palace on Thursday, said.
He said the Saudi-Pak relations had taken a new turn under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, adding the measures taken by him could help the Kingdom become an economic superpower.
“Pakistan should become Saudi Arabia’s economic partner to boost its industry and create more job opportunities for the youth. This is besides getting the Kingdom’s support at international forums to highlight different issues, such as the Kashmir conflict,” the doctor suggested.
“The Saudis are generous and loyal friends,” he added. “They have profound love for Pakistan and Pakistanis.”

Hundreds of Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia return home on special flight

Updated 02 June 2020

Hundreds of Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia return home on special flight

  • This was the eighth PIA special flight to bring Pakistani nationals back from the Kingdom
  • Earlier, over 15,000 Pakistani Umrah pilgrims were brought home on special flights 

ISLAMABAD: A repatriation flight with 251 stranded Pakistanis on board departed for Karachi from Jeddah, the Consulate General of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia said in a statement on Sunday.
This was the eighth special flight of the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), from Jeddah following the coronavirus related suspension of routine international flight operations in the Kingdom on March 15.
“Consul General Khalid Majid and Deputy Consul General Shaiq Ahmed Bhutto were present at Jeddah International Airport to bid farewell to the passengers,” the statement said.

“A total of around 1,700 Pakistanis have so far been repatriated from Jeddah region through seven special flights,” the statement added, and said similar special PIA flights were also being operated from Riyadh region.

Consul General Khalid Majid Bhutto bids farewell to Pakistani nationals departing from Jeddah on a special repatriation flight to Karachi on May 31, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah)

“Embassy of Pakistan at Riyadh and the Consulate General at Jeddah in close cooperation of PIA, are coordinating arrangements of these special flights in their respective jurisdictions.”

Saudi Arabia halted all international travel and suspended Umrah pilgrimage in response to the pandemic in March this year.

Over the months, Pakistan has brought back over 15,000 of its nationals who had gone to Saudi Arabia for Umrah but found themselves stranded amid coronavirus lockdowns in the Kingdom.