Diplomatic Quarter: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia agree to strengthen parliamentary friendship ties

Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh meets Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 10 October 2019

Diplomatic Quarter: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia agree to strengthen parliamentary friendship ties

RIYADH: Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz on Monday met with Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh to discuss bilateral cooperation and ways to enhance them.

“They focused on how to mobilize parliamentary relations among Pakistan’s National Assembly, the Senate and the Saudi Shoura Council, and discussed how to make the Pak-Saudi Parliamentary Friendship Committee more effective so that it could play a role in furthering the relations of the two brotherly countries,” a statement from the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jeddah said.

Members of the Saudi-Pakistani Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shoura Council held a meeting last week.

Moreover, Al-Asheikh visited Pakistan in April this year to further bilateral ties, and in December last year, a Pakistani delegation led by chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, visited Saudi Arabia on Al-Asheikh’s invitation.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan envoy last week briefed prominent Saudi editors and journalists on the deteriorating human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh said: “The ambassador talked about the genesis of the Kashmir dispute and highlighted UN Security Council resolutions that promised the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Tensions have been running high between India and Pakistan after New Delhi on Aug. 5 revoked the special constitutional status of the disputed Himalayan region under its administrative control by abolishing Article 370 of the Indian constitution.

Islamabad reacted with fury at India’s decision, cutting trade and transport ties and expelling the Indian ambassador.

Ejaz said that the Indian decision to repeal Article 370 was primarily meant to change the demographics of Kashmir.

He reiterated Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiri people and highlighted that former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru also made a commitment to decide the fate of the state as per the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”