Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia

Pakistani Hajj volunteers receive pilgrims in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on June 16, 2022. (Supplied/Pakistan Hajj Mission)
Pakistani Hajj volunteers receive pilgrims in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on June 16, 2022. (Supplied/Pakistan Hajj Mission)
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Updated 04 July 2022

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia
  • This year, 81,132 Hajj pilgrims will come from Pakistan
  • Volunteers offer assistance and advice to worshippers during their pilgrimage

ISLAMABAD: More than 2,000 Pakistani volunteers have been assisting pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj, senior officials told Arab News, ahead of the annual pilgrimage set to commence this week.

One of Islam’s five main pillars of faith, the Hajj was restricted over pandemic fears to just 1,000 people living in the Kingdom in 2020 and 60,000 domestic participants last year, compared with the pre-pandemic levels when up to 2.5 million pilgrims could attend.

This year, with the Hajj pilgrimage set to begin on July 6 and Saudi Arabia having lifted its COVID-19 curbs, the Kingdom will welcome 1 million domestic and foreign pilgrims — and 81,132 of them will come from Pakistan.

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers have been assisting Hajj pilgrims from the South Asian country, more than half of whom are Pakistani expats living in Saudi Arabia.

Abrar Ahmed Mirza, Pakistan’s director general of Hajj in Jeddah, told Arab News that “410 Pakistanis who are working in the Kingdom have joined our Hajj mission as local volunteers, while 810 have come from Pakistan.”

The other volunteers had signed up through the Saudi-based Pakistani Hajj Volunteers Group (PHVG), and had received training before they began offering help and advice to the worshippers.

“This year around 750 volunteers will work,” Muhammad Ismail, a central coordinator with the PHVG, told Arab News.

“As per our policy, all volunteers have gone through two mandatory training sessions and are subsequently required to pass an online exam.”

The volunteers are tasked with helping pilgrims get food, access transport, and provide emergency medical aid when required.

Hidayat Ullah, a Pakistani expatriate living in Madinah, said he took leave from his office to join the volunteer mission.

“This is the fourth time I am serving as a volunteer. I am doing this just to serve our country’s pilgrims,” he told Arab News.

Jawad Shafique, another Pakistani volunteer based in Makkah, told Arab News that he wants to help ensure that pilgrims have a smooth stay in Saudi Arabia during their trip.

“We ensure the provision of all basic facilities to pilgrims,” Shafique said.


Saudi Heritage Commission to survey Red Sea for archeological finds

Saudi Heritage Commission to survey Red Sea for archeological finds
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi Heritage Commission to survey Red Sea for archeological finds

Saudi Heritage Commission to survey Red Sea for archeological finds

JEDDAH: The Saudi Heritage Commission has announced that it will implement plans to survey and uncover buried heritage in the Red Sea in collaboration with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the King Abdulaziz University and the University of Naples in Italy.
The commission said that plans will include surveying the Red Sea waters, from Umluj to Ras Al-Sheikh Hamid, in search for archeological findings, a project that had initially begun on July 13 and will continue to Sept. 5.
The project has thus far monitored more than 25 specific locations along the survey path including the Ras Al-Sheikh Hamid, Duba, Al-Wajh and Umluj areas using sonars. The devices will retrieve underwater and mosaic maps as well as high-quality photographs of the areas.
Saudi Heritage Commission CEO Dr. Jasir Al-Herbish said that the announcement is in line with the commission’s policy to notify media agencies, the general public and those interested in archeology of plans and efforts made in collaboration with scientific institutions and international organizations to discover these historical sites.
Its goal with this initiative is to develop the field of archeological diving and share the results of the historical site surveys in order to educate the public about areas in the Red Sea that are rich with cultural heritage — and just as essential as archeological findings on dry land.
Al-Herbish highlighted the efforts that are already in progress, such as a specialized center for the protection of underwater cultural heritage in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.
He stressed that the waters of the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf are still incubating many secrets about the Kingdom’s cultural heritage, and the center hopes it will contribute to discovering them.
Vice President and Senior Associate of KAUST Dr. Najah Ashry said: “We at KAUST Basic Laboratories are exploring the secrets of the Red Sea using advanced marine technologies and building advanced capabilities with our partners,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The Umluj shipwreck area was previously surveyed in a collaborative effort by the commission and an Italian team from the University of Naples in 2015 and 2016, which determined that the wreck dates back over 100 years.
Some of the survey findings included a mound of pottery next to the wreck, hundreds of high-quality Chinese porcelain pieces, a coconut shell and various metals.


Mawhiba, ALECSO celebrate end of the Gifted Arab Initiative

Mawhiba, ALECSO celebrate end of the Gifted Arab Initiative
Updated 1 min ago

Mawhiba, ALECSO celebrate end of the Gifted Arab Initiative

Mawhiba, ALECSO celebrate end of the Gifted Arab Initiative

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, or Mawhiba, organized the closing ceremony for the second edition of its Gifted Arab Initiative on Wednesday.

The ceremony celebrated the 205 students from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, and Palestine who completed the initiative.

The students finished twin programs hosted at King Saud University and Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, where they spent weeks learning in top tier scientific research laboratories.

The programs aim to develop and refine the students’ capabilities and skills, and provide them with specialized scientific knowledge, research and learning techniques, and critical thinking and public speaking experience for their future endeavours.

Mawhiba Secretary-General Dr. Amal Al-Hazaa said: “Mawhiba and its partners are celebrating today the end of the Gifted Arab Initiative, which included many stages and hard work that began with the development of a scientific scale — the Gifted Arab scale — which is the gateway to the initiative, followed by cooperation between the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization and the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, represented in coordination with the ministries of education in the Arab countries to nominate these students.”

Al-Hazaa added that the initiative’s goals were to spread a culture of discovery and innovation, and create the necessary support to nurture talented Arab students to  let them contribute to the growth of their respective countries.

In his virtual speech from ALECSO headquarters in Tunisia, Director General Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar said: “I would like to thank King Salman, and the people of Saudi Arabia, for the generous and continuous support of the organization and for sponsoring its works, programs and cultural activities in the service of the Arab nation.

“My sons and daughters, the winners of the first round of the Gifted Arab Initiative, more than 200 students from all Arab countries; we aim to nurture your talents because you are the true wealth and successful investment.”

At the end of the ceremony, Mawhiba honored the initiative’s partners, King Saud University and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, in appreciation of their continuous support for talent empowerment and development programs.

The ceremony was attended by ambassadors and other diplomats representing Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, and Mauritania.


Saudi ‘Happiness Makers’ to bring joy to entertainment sector

Saudi ‘Happiness Makers’ to bring joy to entertainment sector
Updated 16 min 20 sec ago

Saudi ‘Happiness Makers’ to bring joy to entertainment sector

Saudi ‘Happiness Makers’ to bring joy to entertainment sector
  • 30 young people completed 6-month training program
  • Part of Vision 2030’s Quality of Life projects

JEDDAH: Thirty young Saudis have completed the General Entertainment Authority’s Entertainment Leaders’ six-month program and are now geared to become “Happiness Makers” in the country’s growing industry.

The GEA held a ceremony in Riyadh on Tuesday to honor the young people who were trained in crowd control, entertainment center management, maintenance, public safety, organizing and marketing.

The “Happiness Makers” initiative is part of Vision 2030’s Quality of Life program, which was launched in 2018. The training was held in cooperation with several local universities and companies in the entertainment sector.

The ceremony was attended by Faisal Bafarat, CEO of the GEA, and Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program.

GEA Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh tweeted a message from his Twitter account: “With the support of the Crown Prince, today we celebrated honoring 30 entertainment leaders after they completed the training program within the #happiness — makers initiative, which was launched by the authority to qualify and train 100,000 young men and women in various programs.”

The GEA aims to develop the country’s nascent entertainment and tourism industry, which includes seeking private and public sector support and partnerships.

The ceremony in Riyadh saw several companies sign agreements to run joint training in event management, presentations, and crowd management.


Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach
Updated 18 August 2022

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach
  • KSRelief earlier this year signed a deal with UNICEF to provide safe water supplies for up to 33,235 people in the Yemeni provinces of Marib, Al-Jawf, Hajjah and Saada

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s relief efforts in Yemen, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), continue with sanitation and medical outreach in areas of the conflict-ridden country.

The center provided, for the week ending Aug. 2, 395,000 liters of drinking water and 2,656,000 liters of non-drinking water in Hajjah Governorate as well as 100,000 liters of drinking water and 40,000 liters of non-drinking water in Saada Governorate.

KSRelief earlier this year signed a deal with UNICEF to provide safe water supplies for up to 33,235 people in the Yemeni provinces of Marib, Al-Jawf, Hajjah and Saada, and reduce the incidence of diseases resulting from drinking contaminated water.

During the same week, 502 people from Abs district of Hajjah Governorate who had various health issues were given free medical services.

The KSRelief mobile medical clinics also provided 251 individuals with medications.

KSRelief has so far implemented 684 projects in Yemen at a total cost of more than $4 billion, and is among the top beneficiary countries for the relief agency’s activities including food security, water sanitation and hygiene, health, education, humanitarian and emergency relief coordination.


Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom
Updated 18 August 2022

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom
  • The exercise, involving the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the US Marine Corps, began several days ago in the western city of Yanbu
  • It includes a number of scenarios and drills focusing on mobilization, deployment and logistics operations

RIYADH: Native Fury 22, a military exercise in the Kingdom involving the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the US Marine Corps that began several days ago in the western city of Yanbu, continued on Wednesday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said.

It includes a number of scenarios and drills focusing on mobilization, deployment and logistics operations. It also includes communications, field medicine, a life-saving combat exercise, shooting with live ammunition, and supply and evacuation operations.

The exercise is hosted by the Kingdom with the participation and support of several ministries and other official organizations. The aim is to give personnel an opportunity to practice and train in the implementation of bilateral military, operational and logistical plans; strengthen Saudi and American military coordination and partnership; improve joint-working capabilities; and gain experience in the use of the Kingdom’s military bases and road networks, the ministry said.

“It also aims to train in the integrated government work to implement mixed military exercises,” it added.

Native Fury 22 is one of several military exercises conducted by the Saudi Armed Forces throughout the year with allies to raise levels of combat efficiency, gain field experience, and work on standardizing military concepts and terminology among the participants.