Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to sign media deal

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan during a meeting with Saudi Minister for Media Turki Abdullah M. Al-Shabanah in Islamabad. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 07 October 2019

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to sign media deal

  • Agreement will entail cooperation between both countries’ official news agencies in a joint communication strategy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will sign a cooperation agreement between their official news agencies by December, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on information and broadcasting, told Arab News on Saturday. In August this year, Saudi Media Minister Turki Al-Shabanah met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to discuss enhancing media cooperation.
Awan said: “Pakistani and Saudi state TV will have exchange programs. We’re also working on exchanges of media delegations.” She added that she will be leave “soon” for an official visit to Saudi Arabia to finalize the agreement. “We’ll finalize our framework by December 2019, and 2020 will be a new era of strong media engagements between the two countries,” Awan said. The cooperation will help change the perception of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan as an “ultra-conservative country,” she added. Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom has become enlightened and progressive, Awan said. “Now, the world is getting more information about the new Saudi Arabia. We have to market this change, which both countries can do by joining hands in the fields of media and information, and for which a mechanism is being designed,” she added. Awan said Pakistan will stand by Saudi Arabia as a strong partner through enhanced media-to-media and people-to-people contacts. She stressed the need for a joint communication strategy with the Kingdom to promote and project the true image of Islam worldwide.
“It will also serve the vision of both leaders (Khan and the crown prince) to dispel the negative perception about Islam and promote the true face of Islam before the world,” Awan said.
Last month at the UN General Assembly in New York, Khan made an impassioned appeal to the West against growing Islamophobia, and warned the world about its consequences.
He also spoke of the possibility of an Islamic TV channel in collaboration with other Muslim countries to contest negative media portrayals of Muslims.

We’ll finalize our framework by December 2019, and 2020 will be a new era of strong media engagements between the two countries.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on information and broadcasting

Earlier this week, a Saudi-Pakistani parliamentary friendship committee met in Riyadh to discuss greater collaboration between institutions in both countries. Awan said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are also improving business contacts and cooperation in the tourism sector. The Kingdom is Pakistan’s “true economic partner,” she added. Last year, Saudi Arabia gave $6 billion in aid to Pakistan and averted a balance of payments crisis. During his maiden visit to Pakistan in February this year, the crown prince signed investment agreements worth $20 billion. “When Pakistan was nearing bankruptcy, the economy was in shambles, foreign reserves were at a historic low, and we were unable even to pay back our due instalments on loans, the Saudi leadership stood by us, helped improve our foreign reserves and provided oil on deferred payment. It helped stabilize our economy,” Awan said.
“Saudis have always safeguarded Pakistan’s national interests and supported its strategic narrative.” She added that in turn, Pakistan’s armed forces are always ready to play their role in protecting the Kingdom’s national security. “Any challenge to Saudi Arabia’s security and sovereignty is a challenge for Pakistan,” she said. “Pakistan will always stand by Saudi Arabia against any threat.” Awan said Khan not only condemned last month’s attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, but described them as “an attack on Pakistan.” She added: “Riyadh could play an important role in raising the Kashmir issue at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).”


Hosni Mubarak reminisces about 1973 war in video message

Updated 16 October 2019

Hosni Mubarak reminisces about 1973 war in video message

  • Former Egyptian president shares his memories on 46th anniversary of conflict
  • YouTube video racks almost 150,000 views in four hours and channel attracts 11,000 subscribers

RIYADH: The first video posted by “Mubarak’s Archive,” a YouTube channel launched in the name of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, was viewed almost than 150,000 times within four hours of being uploaded on Tuesday night. The channel attracted 11,000 subscribers in that time.

During the 26-minute video, Mubarak talked about the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War and praised the Egyptian Air Force for the role it had played. He was the commander of the Air Force and deputy minister of defense at the time of the three-week conflict.

“The Egyptian Air Force fully carried out its duties in striking the enemy’s operations center in the October 1973 War,” he said.

At the start of the video, Mubarak said: “To begin, I have to talk about late President Anwar Sadat, who took the decision to go to war. He was a very brave and courageous man. Today as we celebrate the Oct. 6 (1973) war victory, the same date he was killed (by assassins in 1981), I have to salute him.”

The former president also talked about the June 1967 Six-Day War, which he argued was not actually a war.

“We were hit without prior notice and without having a plan,” he said. “I believe I was in an operation center in mid-May and I returned to the airport where they informed me that there was a state of emergency had been announced.

“A commissioner from the General Command came on June 3 and said that there was a political demonstration and we would send troops to Sinai. The division’s leader had no idea who was getting in and out.”

Mubarak’s son Alaa had earlier posted a message to his Twitter account announcing the video featuring his father. “President Mubarak remembers some October War memories…tonight at 8.30 p.m,” he wrote.

Mubarak, who was deposed following an uprising in 2011 after almost 30 years as Egyptian President, was last seen publicly on December 26, 2018, when he testified at the trial of his ousted successor, Mohammed Morsi, and others.