ISLAMABAD: President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi has conferred country’s highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan upon visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at an investiture ceremony today here at the President House.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, federal ministers, parliamentarians, and services chiefs were also present on the occasion. Later, President Dr. Arif Alvi has said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have similar directions for peace in the region, developing, and elimination of corruption. Addressing a luncheon ceremony held in honor of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Islamabad today, President Dr. Arif Alvi has said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have similar directions for peace in the region, development, and elimination of corruption.
He said it is a very golden era for Pakistan as it is open for investment. The President said we bravely fought terrorism and we are now standing at an era, where there will be increasing prosperity and peace in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the region. He thanked the Crown Prince for signing various Memorandums of Understanding for huge investment in Pakistan.
He said it is the first phase of Saudi investments and the second phase will take place soon. Dr. Arif Alvi said like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has huge tourism potential as it is situated at the crossroad of various regions. He invited Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to visit Pakistan and urged Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to visit northern areas of Pakistan, which present one of the best mountain attractions in the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said brotherly relationships between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are focused on the principle of Islamic solidarity. He acknowledged the contribution of Pakistani diaspora for the development of Saudi Arabia, especially in the expansion project of the Grand Mosque and Masjid-e-Nabavi. He said over two million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia and contributing a lot in the development of the kingdom and Pakistan.
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Rights advocates slam US move to bar entry to Int’l Criminal Court investigators
UNITED NATIONS: Human rights defenders expressed outrage on Friday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the Trump administration was revoking or denying visas for any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies for potential war crimes.
The move, Pompeo confirmed to reporters was a direct response to ongoing efforts by the Hague-based ICC to probe allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity tied to the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Programme, was among those who spoke out against the decision
The ACLU currently represents Khaled El Masri, Suleiman Salim, and Mohamed Ben Soud, who were all detained and tortured in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008.
“This is an unprecedented attempt to skirt international accountability for well-documented war crimes that haunt our clients to this day,” Dakwar said.
“It reeks of the very totalitarian practices that are characteristic of the worst human rights abusers, and is a blatant effort to intimidate and retaliate against judges, prosecutors, and advocates seeking justice for victims of serious human rights abuses.”
Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, called it “an outrageous effort to bully the court and deter scrutiny of U.S. conduct.” He encouraged ICC member countries to “publicly make clear that they will remain undaunted in their support for the ICC and will not tolerate U.S. obstruction.”
Daniel Balson, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, noted that this is just “the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.”
Visa bans, as Balson pointed out, are “powerful tools typically reserved for the most serious of human rights abusers.”
But rather than targeting global criminals, the Trump administration has set its sights on the ICC—an impartial judicial body that aims to promote accountability under international law by probing and prosecuting crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
Pompeo’s announcement came after John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and a longtime critic of the ICC, threatened to impose sanctions on court officials in September if they continued to pursue an investigation of potential crimes by U.S. civilians or military personnel in Afghanistan.
The move “is highly indicative of [the administration’s] culture of disregard for rights abuses,” Balson said.
“Throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC’s investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law.”
Echoing Bolton’s broader denunciations of the ICC last year, Pompeo on Friday highlighted that the United States—under both Democratic and Republican presidents—has refused to join the court for more than two decades “because of its broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty.”
Warning that “the court could eventually pursue politically motivated prosecutions of Americans,” the secretary of state told reporters that the Trump administration is “determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.”
“These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent,” Pompeo added. “Implementation of this policy has already begun.”
117 children die in northeastern Syria camp
DAMASCUS: As many as 117 children died in a battered camp in northeastern Syria over the past few months, a war monitor reported Friday.
The dead children were mostly under 12 years old and 60 percent of them died as a result of the tough humanitarian situation in the camp over the past 19 days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The United Nations has made several statements about the tough humanitarian situation in al-Hol camp. Its latest statement on Thursday said there has been an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the camp since December 2018.
About 67,000 people are in al-Hol camp, 90 percent of whom are women and children fleeing hostilities from the town of Baghouz, the last IS-held area in eastern Syria.
The United Nations said the camp was over-crowded and uninhabitable and threatened human dignity and life where people were forced to sleep on the ground during harsh weather conditions.
People are leaving Baghouz on a daily basis and the Observatory said the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has postponed its last push against the IS in the town as the terror group is holding prisoners from the SDF.
The SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, has been carrying out a crushing offensive against the IS in eastern Syria since last September.
In recent reports, the Observatory said the IS militants were in their last days in eastern Syria amid the progress of the SDF.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan join hands to train Saudis in Jordan in uranium mining
AMMAN: The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission said on Monday that Saudi Arabia has started a programme to train its staff and cadres in Jordan in uranium mining.
Under the one-year programme, which is conducted in cooperation with the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission and Jordanian Uranium Mining Company, Saudis will be trained in exploring uranium ore, developing uranium oxide and feasibility study.
The first batch of Saudi trainees includes 13 specialists, the commission said in a statement.
In 2017, Jordan and Saudi Arabia signed agreements on cooperation in uranium exploration and a joint feasibility study into the construction of two small modular reactors (SMRs) in Jordan.
Saudi Arabia and Jordan also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in January 2014. Jordan is working on a national program to create nuclear reactors for power generation and has launched a major nuclear research reactor that benefits the Middle East.