Pakistan has pitched ‘epic menu’ of $30 billion investment projects to Riyadh — foreign minister

Pakistan has pitched ‘epic menu’ of $30 billion investment projects to Riyadh — foreign minister
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan (L) and his Pakistan’s counterpart Ishaq Dar arrive to address a joint press conference at the foreign ministry in Islamabad on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 April 2024
Follow

Pakistan has pitched ‘epic menu’ of $30 billion investment projects to Riyadh — foreign minister

Pakistan has pitched ‘epic menu’ of $30 billion investment projects to Riyadh — foreign minister
  • Ishaq Dar says Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will visit Pakistan for three days from April 22-25
  • Says Saudi crown prince has accepted PM’s invitation to visit Pakistan, timing being discussed 

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday Pakistan had pitched an “epic menu” of investment projects worth $30 billion to Saudi Arabia during a visit this week by the Kingdom’s foreign chief, adding that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi would visit Islamabad from April 22-25.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud was in Islamabad earlier this week where he said Riyadh would be “moving ahead significantly” to invest in projects in the South Asian nation. His visit followed a meeting in Makkah between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which the Kingdom had pledged to expedite $5 billion in investments.
Speaking to journalists at an informal meet-and-greet on Thursday afternoon, Dar said Pakistan had pitched projects worth $30 billion to the Saudi delegation, which would “take time” to materialize. 
“It’s a process, it doesn’t happen overnight,” the foreign minister said. “We have given them a big epic menu to select [from]. After that their expression of interest has been indicated. On that, we will get details on [April] 28, so it takes time. But all vibes are very positive.”
Dar said PM Sharif had invited the Saudi crown prince to visit Pakistan during their meeting in Makkah earlier this month:
“He has very kindly accepted the invitation. The timing of the visit will obviously be sorted out between diplomatic channels of the two countries.”
Responding to a question about a planned visit by Iran’s Raisi to Pakistan, Dar said it had been in the works for “weeks and months.”
“He is coming. The visit is on the cards on 22, 23, 24 [April] and we are preparing fully for this.”
Dar also said Afghan Interim Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi had invited him to visit Afghan when the two leaders spoke on the telephone last month.
No country has recognized Taliban rule since they seized power in August 2021, after the Western-backed government collapsed as the last US-led international troops departed following two decades of war.
When asked if he would accept Muttaqi’s invitation to visit Kabul, Dar responded: 
“By not interacting we will achieve nothing … so my own fundamental thinking is this, but obviously it [visit] is subject to clearance by the prime minister and MOFA [ministry of foreign affairs] advice that at the appropriate time we will definitely visit.”
Dar also spoke about tensions in the Middle East as the Israeli military has pledged a response to Iran’s retaliatory strikes last week for a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1. 
Israel and its allies mostly shot down all missiles and drones and there were no deaths, but Israel says it must retaliate to preserve the credibility of its deterrents. Iran says it views the matter as closed but will retaliate again if Israel does.
“Our policy guidelines are about peace, we don’t want any confrontation, we want a peaceful resolution, we want a Gaza solution as soon as possible,” Dar said when asked about the possibility of escalation. 
“We want a ceasefire in Gaza, we want a Palestinian permanent state.”


Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup

Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup
Updated 5 sec ago
Follow

Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup

Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup
  • Skipper Babar Azam expresses confidence Pakistan will carry the winning momentum from the Ireland series
  • England dominate the T20I rivalry with 19 wins to Pakistan’s nine triumphs, with one game ended as a no-result

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan men’s cricket team will take on England in the first of the four-match T20I series at Headingley today, Wednesday, in what is expected to be an exciting match ahead of next month’s World Cup.
The last T20I meeting between Pakistan and England took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. England edged past Pakistan by five wickets in the close encounter with Sam Curran earning the Player of the Final award for his figures of three for 12.
A full-strength Pakistan cricket team is expected to take the field at Headingley on Wednesday at the back of a 2-1 series win against Ireland in Dublin last week. Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi snapped up the Player of the Match awards in the two victories.
Pakistan men’s white-ball head coach Gary Kirsten also joined the side on 19 May for the first assignment of his two-year tenure.
“I am confident that Pakistan will carry the winning momentum from the Ireland series into the England T20Is. Our 2-1 victory in Dublin showcased the brilliance of our batters and bowlers, while also providing us with learnings as we aim to work on our areas of improvement,” said Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, the most successful captain in T20Is with 46 wins.
“We’ve had productive training sessions at Headingley and with head coach Gary Kirsten linking up with the squad, we are focused on fine-tuning our strategies and combinations for the four T20Is against England and T20 World Cup,” he added.
England dominate the T20I rivalry with 19 wins to Pakistan’s nine triumphs, while one game ended as a no-result. England were the winners of the previous bilateral series against Pakistan, clinching the seven T20Is played in Lahore and Karachi 4-3.
Series schedule:
22 May – v England, 1st T20I, Leeds
25 May – v England, 2nd T20I, Birmingham
28 May – v England 3rd T20I, Cardiff
30 May – v England, 4th T20I, The Oval


Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
Updated 26 min 36 sec ago
Follow

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
  • The incident occurred when the Iranian president was flying to Tabriz amid dense fog causing poor visibility
  • The Pakistani prime minister will meet the Iranian supreme leader, acting president to offer his condolences

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to travel to Iran today, Wednesday, to offer his condolences after President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan Province on May 19.
The incident occurred after the Iranian president attended the inauguration of a joint hydropower project on the Aras River, which forms part of the border with Azerbaijan, in a ceremony with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
His helicopter crashed while he was on his way back to Tabriz with a seven-member entourage amid dense fog, causing poor visibility.
The Pakistani prime minister paid tribute to the Iranian president and foreign minister during the recent cabinet meeting. The Iranian officials arrived in Islamabad and visited other Pakistani cities last month and vowed to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will visit the Islamic Republic of Iran today to offer condolences at the sad demise of President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian,” the foreign office announced in a statement.
“The Prime Minister will call on the Supreme Leader, His Eminence, Ayatollah Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and meet Acting President of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mokhber, to convey condolences on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan,” it added.
Sharif will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior cabinet ministers.
According to media outlets, Raisi’s funeral will be held on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Iranians in Tabriz on Tuesday mourned their president and other Iranian officials who died in the crash, walking behind the vehicle carrying their coffins.


Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
Updated 47 min 30 sec ago
Follow

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
  • Ishaq Dar flew to Bishkek with the Kyrgyz foreign minister after their meeting on the sidelines of SCO conference in Astana
  • Pakistan continues to evacuate students even as the top officials of the two countries hold meetings to sort things out

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar arrived in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday to address concerns of young nationals of his country enrolled in various educational institutions of the Central Asian state who were targeted by mob violence last week.
The violence began in Bishkek on Friday night after videos of a brawl between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students went viral on social media, prompting groups of local residents to target university hostels and private lodgings of international students, including those from Pakistan.
According to official figures, about 10,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in Kyrgyzstan, with nearly 6,000 in Bishkek. The frenzied violence forced them to confine themselves for several hours in their rooms without food and drinking water, with many of them making evacuation requests online.
Dar, who is also the foreign minister of Pakistan, held a meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic for a working visit,” Pakistan’s foreign office announced in a statement on Tuesday. “He was invited to visit the Kyrgyz Republic by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Zheenbek Kulubaev after their meeting yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. The two Ministers traveled together from Astana to Bishkek.”

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar (L) shakes hands with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Kulubaev Zheenbek Moldokanovich in Bishkek on May 22, 2024. (Photo courtesy: MOFA)

“In Bishkek, the Deputy Prime Minister will discuss with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister the concerns of Pakistani nationals in the Kyrgyz Republic, including the recent issues faced by Pakistani students,” it added.
Five Pakistani nationals were injured in last week’s violence. Four of them were released after receiving first aid. However, one student was hospitalized due to more serious injuries.
Dar also met with the student who remains under treatment among his other official engagements.
Pakistan has so far repatriated over 1,000 students from Bishkek after the mob violence via various flights. The evacuation process continues even as officials of the two countries try to sort things out.
The most recent flight carrying about 170 Pakistani students arrived in Multan on Wednesday morning.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan International Airlines, officials from Pakistan's national airline welcome students arriving from Bishkek via a special PIA flight at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on May 21, 2024, days after mobs in Kyrgyz capital attacked foreign students following a brawl with migrants. (Photo courtesy: PIA)

 


President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
  • Pervaiz Elahi was arrested on June 1 in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments in Punjab Assembly
  • His party says the anti-corruption watchdog failed to prove Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment

ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, president of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was released from prison on Tuesday after the Lahore High Court granted him bail in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments, the PTI said.
Elahi was arrested on June 1, 2023 after being accused of getting results of the testing service changed to have the candidates of his choice appointed in the Punjab provincial assembly.
Justice Sultan Tanvir of the Lahore High Court accepted his bail petition while presiding over a hearing of the case on Tuesday and ordered his release.
“The anti-corruption body filed the case after a delay of two years,” the PTI said in a statement. “Anti-corruption body failed to prove that Mr. Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment or his involvement in the recruitment procedure.”
Elahi has twice served as the chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province and dissolved the provincial assembly in January 2023 on Khan’s instructions, in a bid to force early nationwide elections.
His arrest on June 1 came amid a crackdown on Khan’s PTI party after violent clashes and attacks on government and military installations over Khan’s brief arrest in May 9.
Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April, has been in jail since last August and convicted in multiple cases. Arguably Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan says all cases against him are politically motivated to keep him out of politics.


Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
  • The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50°Celsius in parts of rural Sindh
  • Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing 15-hour daily loadshedding

KARACHI: Over 1,000 camps have been set up across Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh in anticipation of a severe heatwave, disaster management officials said Tuesday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of rural Sindh.
“These camps have been set up to provide relief to affected people, and to help reduce instances of heatstroke and other heat-related diseases,” Ajay Kumar assistant director of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told AFP.
“They are also equipped with places of rest, water and glucose to give to people as and when these are needed,” he added.
The heatwave will affect much of the country, building over the next week.
Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding, according to local media.
Pakistan increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.
Schools in the province have already postponed annual examinations scheduled for this week, including in the mega port city of Karachi, home to more than 20 million people.
PDMA Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz said that “women who spend most of their time in the kitchen and in the fields in rural areas are the hardest hit.”
The heatwave also raises concern about the survival of livestock, Kumar added.