Six hundred Pakistanis will receive fully funded Saudi scholarships to join top universities in the Kingdom. The scholarship initiative, which was announced by the Kingdom last year, was launched by the Saudi Ministry of Education earlier this week. It includes 25 universities that will receive students pursuing diploma, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies. The students will join their respective programs in September-October.
Pakistani painter Rabia Zakir, this week became the first international artist to hold a solo show in Madinah. Zakir is well known in Islamabad’s diplomatic circles for her portraits of Arab leaders, including the Saudi crown prince and members of the royal families of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Her portraits and landscapes hang in 50 embassies in Pakistan.
The de facto leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly declines calls from the White House. The calls from President Biden and the U.S. were based on the agenda to build international support for Ukraine and contain a surge in oil prices. Saudi and Emirati officials have also become more vocal in their criticism of American policy in Gulf.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday suspended entry to the kingdom from 20 countries, including Pakistan. The Arab state made the move to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Only diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical practitioners and their families will be allowed entry. The “temporary suspension” would be effective from 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.
Lt-Gen (retd) Bilal Akbar has been appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He has replaced a career diplomat, Raja Ali Ejaz. Since the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Maliki was from the Royal Saudi Navy and retired as Rear Admiral, both Islamabad and Riyadh now have former military men as each other’s ambassadors in their respective capitals.
Saudi Arabia has suspended all international commercial flights for a renewable week except for the foreign flights already in the kingdom. The entry to the kingdom through land and sea ports will be also suspended for a renewable week. These measures come after the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 among a number of countries.
Saudi Arabia’s new banknote to mark the upcoming G20 summit has sparked an outage in India as it shows Kashmir with new borders as a separate state. The currency note in question was issued on October 24 by Saudi Arabia to celebrate the kingdom’s leadership of the Group of Twenty (G20) and the back side of the note is a world map.
A Pakistani doctor has won the praise of Saudi Arabia after he successfully led fight against Covid-19 pandemic and lowered the fatality rate in the kingdom during virus upsurge. He was presented with the award during a ceremony to mark Saudi National Day on Sept 23. Hailing from Layyah, Dr Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz has been working in Saudi Arabia for the last 18 years.
Saudi Arabia will gradually resume the year-round umrah pilgrimage from October 4, the interior ministry announced, after it was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the first stage, “6,000 citizens and residents within the kingdom will be allowed to perform the umrah per day from October 4,” the ministry said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Arabia has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Israel until the Jewish state has signed an internationally recognised peace accord with the Palestinians. Days after the United Arab Emirates became the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan ruled out the possibility of any such accord until the Palestinian issue is resolved.