Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Umrah pilgrims, keeping a safe social distance, offer prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Saudi Arabia is gradually lifting restrictions imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Umrah pilgrims perform prayers in the Grand Mosque amid heavy rain on and social distancing on Monday. (SPA)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Pakistani pilgrim Umair Mushtaq pose with a Saudi official at the Jeddah airport on his arrival from Pakistan.
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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A Pakistani pilgrim transported to his hotel where he will undergo a three-day mandatory quarantine before he is allowed to perform Umrah. (Supplied)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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A view of the Grand Mosque for the hotel room of a Pakistani pilgrim Musadaq Malik. (Photo courtesy: Umair Mushtaq)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Pakistani pilgrims Umair Mushtaq and Hafiz Talha Usman arrive at a hotel in Makkah on Monday. (Photo courtesy: Umair Mushtaq)
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Updated 03 November 2020

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
  • Saudi authorities praised for making foolproof arrangements to keep virus at bay

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia this week for Umrah said they felt blessed to be among the few hundred foreigners performing the holy ritual, following a loosening of travel bans to check the spread of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia closed its borders in February to foreign Umrah pilgrims and, in March, stopped its own citizens and residents from taking part in order to contain the spread of the virus. In July, the Kingdom allowed a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform Hajj.

Umrah can be performed at any time of the year in contrast to Hajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar. “I am feeling blessed as I was waiting for this moment for the last seven months,” Pakistani pilgrim Umair Mushtaq, who is leading a group of 38, told Arab News from Makkah.

He praised the arrangements ministries had made for pilgrims at Jeddah airport.

Saudi authorities have made arrangements according to WHO instructions.

Musadaq Malik




Pakistani pilgrims arrive at hotels to undergo a three-day quarantine before they are allowed to perform Umrah. (Photos/Supplied)

“The Saudi Ministry of Hajj gave us very good protocol. They are providing us food in the (hotel) room for the first three days, which is the mandatory period of quarantine.”

Pilgrims have to take a coronavirus test after three days before they are allowed into the Grand Mosque to perform Umrah.

I am feeling blessed as I was waiting for this moment for the last seven months.

Umair Mushtaq

“I feel out of this world,” Musadaq Malik said after arriving in Makkah on the first flight carrying Pakistani pilgrims. “Only a few hundred people got this chance of performing Umrah out of the total 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. I don’t have words to explain my feelings. I am waiting anxiously for the remaining two days to pass so that we can finally perform Umrah and offer prayers in the Grand Mosque.”

He thanked Saudi authorities for their welcome at Jeddah airport. “They have made arrangements according to WHO (World Health Organization) instructions,” he added.

Sajid Masood, Pakistan’s director of Hajj in Jeddah, said that Saudi Arabia had changed all protocols so that pilgrims could observe coronavirus precautions at airports.

“The arrangements are very impressive and they (Saudis) have given a warm welcome to Pakistani pilgrims at Jeddah airport,” Masood said. “I myself visited the hotel where Pakistani pilgrims are staying and it is completely disinfected.”

He said authorities had also installed thermal gates at various places to check the spread of coronavirus.

 


DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties
Updated 25 February 2021

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

RIYADH: Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev recently held a meeting with the joint Saudi-Azerbaijani Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shoura Council in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Faiz Al-Shehri, member of the Shoura Council and head of the committee, and examined various ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially at the level of parliamentary relations between the Shoura Council and the Azerbaijani parliament.
Abdullayev wished the council success in its new session and expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s policies to enhance security, peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
Al-Shehri ran through the Shoura Council’s organizational structure, and highlighted the importance of the diplomatic role played by parliamentary friendship committees.
Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan celebrated the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in February 2017.
The then-Azeri Ambassador in Riyadh Rasim Rzayev said at the time: “Azerbaijan and the Kingdom, two brotherly Muslim countries, have unique commonalities of a historical, religious and political nature.”
 


Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 February 2021

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Dammam on Wednesday.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Alberda highlighted the development that the Eastern Province has been witnessing, and wished further progress and prosperity for the Kingdom.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Sulaiman Al-Suhaimi.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Saud received the regional director of Al Arabiya channel, Mohammed Al-Hekmi, accompanied by a number of employees.
Prince Saud praised the role of the media in highlighting the societal and development accomplishments of the Kingdom in general and the Eastern Province in particular.
The media played an influential role and was an important means of communication, he said.
Earlier, Prince Saud met the US consul general in Dhahran, Nicholle Manz-Baazaoui. Issues of common interest and ways to promote relationships between the two countries were discussed.
Prince Saud stressed the solid ties between the two countries and their common vision on various topics.
He also highlighted the two countries’ joint work toward achieving security and peace in the region and the world, as well as their economic and cultural cooperation.
 


Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank
Updated 25 February 2021

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Tareq Al-Sadhan has been president and CEO of Riyad Bank since April 2019. Before that, he served as the bank’s senior executive vice president from January 2018 to March 2019.
Al-Sadhan worked with KPMG Saudi Arabia, where he spent 18 years rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history.
He was CEO/managing partner and chairman of the advisory committee during his last five years at the company.
Before his current position, Al-Sadhan worked in the Kingdom’s public sector in roles such as adviser to the chairman in the Saudi Fund for Development, acting director general at the General Authority for Zakat and Tax, and deputy governor for supervision at the Saudi Central Bank.
Al-Sadhan holds a bachelor’s degree in administration science from King Saud University, majoring in accounting (1997), and a master’s degree in business management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, France (2007).
He gained a diploma in international business from the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and a diploma in leadership development and strategy from INSEAD in 2010.
Al-Sadhan is a member of the 2020 World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board for the Middle East and North Africa, and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.
He has been an audit committee member at the Public Investment Fund since March 2019, and an advisory board member at Mastercard since March 2018.


Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
Updated 25 February 2021

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
  • Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between both countries. 

“Had a good call with the United Kingdom Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between our two friendly countries, and our common interests in achieving regional and international stability,” Prince Khalid tweeted Wednesday.

In an interview last year with Al Arabiya, Wallace said the UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not restricted to selling weapons, but a strong defense partnership.


KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti
Updated 25 February 2021

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has launched a voluntary medical campaign for specialized surgeries in Djibouti.

The center’s medical team has to date performed 41 urinary tract operations on children in the east African country and provided the necessary treatment for 60 other cases.

The health initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s relief and humanitarian efforts, through the center, to help crisis-hit countries and the suffering of people around the world.