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Pakistan must bridge differences between Muslim countries

ISLAMABAD: With the unity of Muslim Ummah vulnerable to emerging challenges, Pakistan must play the role of a bridge to strengthen the bonds between Muslim countries.
PHOTO: EXPRESS This was stated by ulema during a seminar on Pakistan-Saudi Relations in Islamabad on Thursday.
The seminar had been organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and was presided by the council’s chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi.Addressing the convention, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri said that visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to Pakistan will herald a new era of prosperity and economic stability.
He added that Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are knotted in an eternal relationship of brotherhood and faith.“KSA is committed to making a historic investment in Pakistan to uplift its economy, which is a demonstration of Saudis trust and confidence on the people and the government of Pakistan,” Maulana Qadri said.
He recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan chose Riyadh as his first destination for an official foreign tour after taking office.“History is witness to the fact that both Pakistan and KSA are time-tested friends.
In every thick and thin, both the brother Islamic countries have assisted each other,” he stated.Furthermore, he said that KSA has always been on forefront whenever Pakistan has called on it, either on the occasion of nuclear sanctions or economic mayhem.
He added that KSA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had supported Pakistan during the current economic crisis.KSA’s investment in Pakistan will restore and reinforce the trust and confidence business communities the world over have in the country, he said.
International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) President Dr Ahmed Yousaf Al-Darvesh, who is a Saudi, stated that KSA feels proud of its brotherly ties with Pakistan.The leadership of political and religious organizations speaking at the conference welcomed the state visit, stating that this visit will prove to be a historic milestone to strengthen Pak-Saudi Arabia relations in the longer run.
Participants of the seminar also underlined that the Muslim Ummah was resolved to confronting challenges faced by the Muslim world.They added that Muslims from all over the world gathered and united in Harmain Al Sharifain keeping aside all distinctions, this unity is required to steer out the Muslim Ummah from prevailing challenges.
The participants of the seminar also lauded efforts of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for strengthening its ties with brotherly Muslim countries with the visit of Crown Prince Salman to further cement brotherly relations between Pakistan and KSA.The massive Saudi investment in Pakistan will enhance opportunities for both Saudi and Pakistani merchants to boost bilateral trade between both the Muslim brother countries.
The participants of the seminar stated that Pakistan enjoys a respectable place amongst Muslim countries. Hence, it must play an effective role as a bridge for the unity of the Muslim Ummah.
Saudi Crown Prince Amir Muhammad bin Salman is scheduled to land in Pakistan later this week where he is expected to sign a series of agreements in different fields to uphold economic ties between the two countries.The conference also underlined that in mosques across Pakistan, special prayers will be offered after the Friday sermons on February 15, regarding stability and peace in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The Friday congregations will also adopt resolutions to welcome Saudi Crown Prince Amir Muhammad bin Salman on his arrival in, 2019.

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US, Russia and Blackwater mercenaries plot different futures for Afghanistan

It would be fanciful to imagine an America-free Afghanistan in the foreseeable future, writes Saeed Naqvi. Two parallel peace processes on Afghanistan are underway.
In Doha, Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan has held extensive round of talks with Taleban leaders, spread over several days last month.
The authorship of this process is, quite jealously, America’s. But on February 5 and 6, Taliban and other Afghan political groups also met in Moscow.
A roadmap for the future, titled the Moscow Declaration was announced. Among its nine points is one which also suggests coordination with the Doha process – there is no jealous guarding of ownership of the peace process here.
Anyone interested in peace is the joint author. The declaration was immediately rubbished by the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
“Moscow declaration will not have impact on the peace process in Afghanistan” said palace spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.I have Russian estimates of five years ago.
They may have changed, but in those days the Russians were convinced of 30 US bases in Afghanistan.Of these, the ones at Bagram, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Helmand, Shindand (Herat) and Mazar-e-Sharif were, by the sheer volume of masonry and architecture, not temporary.
These bases will remain. Are we then talking about a qualified departure?If the US is actually planning departure, why would it build a consulate in the heart of Mazar-e-Sharif on a scale which would dwarf large embassies? Renaissance is the only reasonable hotel in Mazar-e-Sharif.
It does not take long for great powers to develop more than one point of interest once they have entered an area of strategic significance. It would therefore be fanciful to imagine an America-free Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
“All this blood and treasure was spent for what?” some Americans will ask. Also the chant in Kabul once was “We must remain in the vicinity to keep a watch on the world’s only Muslim nuclear state.
”After Obama announced on December 1, 2009 the US intention to leave Afghanistan in July 2011, I had argued in a paper for the Observer Research Foundation that Americans can simply not leave Afghanistan. I have been proven right so far.
And now once again the “We are leaving” story has been let loose. True, this time the circumstances are different, but let us take a look.
Last July, Zalmay Khalilzad and Morgulov Igor Vladimirovich, Russia’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, (who was behind the scenes in the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow on February 5 and 6) attend a high power meet in New Delhi on regional issues.In a more cooperative world order, one would have expected the representatives of the US and Russia to exchange notes on Afghanistan.
What transpired was to the contrary. Vladimirovich made an allegation that startled the gathering.
“ISIS fighters were being flown to Northern Afghanistan from Syria” was the claim. The Afghan air space is under the control of the US and the government in Kabul.
“So, who is responsible?” Khalilzad offered a tepid denial. The denial lacked credibility because the Russian allegation had been preceded by another made by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatullah Khomenei.
In the course of his Friday address on January 30, 2018. Khomenei said, “The US transfer of IS terrorists to Afghanistan is aimed at creating a justification for its continued presence in the region.
”In countries surrounding Afghanistan, doubts about American intentions may be more muted but are just as strong. It is deeply ironical that Jihadism, terrorism and Islamism manufactured in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the 80s, may be returning to complete the circle.
Indeed, there is a certain inevitability about Islamic militancy becoming a tool of American foreign policy. The triangular romance between Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will ensure this state of affairs for as long as this romance lasts.
Let me explain the inevitability. When animal rights groups forced the famous annual fox hunt to stop in South India’s most Anglaise hill station Ooty, I expressed my curiosity to the master of the hunt: “What have you done to the hundreds of hounds of high pedigree trained diligently for the hunt?” The lovely canines had been transferred to an expensive kennel from where dog lovers could acquire them.
So now we know what to do with redundant foxhounds of high pedigree? What does a state like Saudi Arabia do with spare Islamic militants who have been heavily equipped and trained to kill at the cost of billions? They can only be relocated to newer theatres of conflict like Afghanistan. From here they can plague all the countries the US wishes to destabilize – Xinxiang in China, the Caucasus in Russia, Iran and Pakistan, too, if it does not behave according to the US diktat.
To make the confusion worse, Erik Prince, founder of the world’s biggest mercenary military company, which has mutated from Blackwater to Academi and Triple Canopy, is back in Afghanistan floating the idea of US troops to be replaced by Prince’s mercenary army. His plan that Afghanistan be administered by a “viceroy” was shot down by National Security Adviser H.
R. McMaster and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
After the two were shown the door, Prince has been all over Afghanistan again in and Khalilzad’s notice. The only person who has refused to meet him in Kabul is President Ghani.
The writer is a journalist based in IndiaTags:Analysis Saeed Naqvi Related PostsMemoryMagic Latch February 15, 2019News AnalysisA Gnarled Oak with a Broken Heart February 15, 2019Next Post Can everyone have health insurance in Pakistan? Leave a Reply Cancel replyThis site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia next week

Indonesia will host Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a state visit next week, Jakarta said Thursday, part of an Asian tour that includes stops in Pakistan, India and Malaysia.
“He will arrive in Indonesia on February 18, and meet the president on February 19,” presidential spokesman Johan Budi told AFP.
The crown prince is scheduled to visit Pakistan and Malaysia before arriving in Indonesia and then he heads to India.Salman last visited Indonesia with his father King Salman in 2017 as part of an Asian tour seeking investment opportunities.
At that time, Jakarta and Riyadh signed a range of agreements from trade and aviation to boosting cooperation in science, health and fighting crime.They also inked an agreement involving state-owned energy firms Aramco and Indonesia´s Pertamina to expand a multi-billion-dollar oil refinery in the Southeast Asian nation.Next week´s trip comes as the crown prince continues to be tarnished by his alleged links to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince, but the White House has sidestepped that finding amid strenuous denials by Riyadh.

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