ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr. Noor ul Haq Qadri today said Saudi Arabia wanted all the countries to gradually transfer Haj arrangements to the private sector over the next three to four years, which would make performing the religious obligation more expensive.
The countries would have to concede the Saudi demand for privatizing the Haj, the minister said talking to a private news channel. He said Saudi Arabia had already increased the expenditures for Haj pilgrims.
He said his ministry had presented a summary for Haj subsidy in the cabinet, but there could be no consensus among the cabinet members because of the economic woes.
HR Ministry committed to facilitate pensioners
ISLAMABAD: Joint Secretary of Human Rights Commission Muhammad Kamran said here Friday that the Ministry will look into the grievances of pensioners and will facilitate them accordingly.
He said that it is pensioners’ fundamental right to get a pension at their old age when they need it the most. He said that further amendments will be done in legislation for their old age benefit. The Ministry is fully committed to make smooth way for all government’s employees so that they can live their life with ease, he added.
He further said that the Ministry will take several measures to provide them pension with ease and comfort in their old age. He said that the incumbent government is committed to provide equal opportunities for the development of all citizens particularly senior citizen.
China issues heart-shaped commemorative coins
BEIJING: Two heart-shaped commemorative coins, one gold, and one silver have been issued by China’s central bank.
Chinese characters Jixiang, meaning auspiciousness, dominates the obverse of the two coins, while the reverse sides are decorated with traditional patterns such as a dragon, phoenix, lotus, jade and pearls, all symbols of auspiciousness and fortune.
Weighing three grams and 30 grams respectively, the gold and silver coins have a face value of 50 yuan (about 7.46 U.S. dollars) and 10 yuan separately.
Apart from the pair, the new set of commemorative coins featuring China’s auspicious culture also includes five round coins.
One silver coin, with a face value of 20 yuan and decorated with the patterns of pomegranates and chubby kids, symbolizes a big and prosperous family.
Another pair bearing the patterns of a cat, a butterfly, stones and auspicious flowers indicates longevity, while the other pair decorated with the images of magpies and plum flowers, symbolizes a joyful life.
The maximum circulation of the coins range from 5,000 to 20,000, and the set is available for sale since Thursday, according to a central bank statement.
IC of Red Cross keen to participate in Belt and Road Const.
BEIJING: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is keen to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for partnership on humanitarian assistance, a senior ICRC official has said.
Jacques Pellet, personal envoy of the ICRC President for China, spoke to Xinhua ahead of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing.
Stating that China’s global influence was growing very fast, Pellet said the ICRC wanted to connect more with China, not only in Beijing but also in other places where it works.
“The ICRC has been working in many countries along the Belt and Road. When we first learned about the initiative, we found it very important to look at,” he said.
Pellet said that the ICRC was also eager to bring its perspectives and working experiences in humanitarian assistance into countries affected by conflicts along the Belt and Road.
“My wish is that, by working together, by focusing on development, and by supporting humanitarian assistance, we can step by step overcome humanitarian challenges faced by these countries,” he said.
Pellet also commends China for its greater responsibility in carrying out the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions globally.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China today participates in global affairs. “In many places, including places where conflict and violence exist, ICRC is working,” he said.
China first participated in UN peacekeeping missions in 1990, when five military observers were sent to Syria. Since then, China has contributed the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping missions and the second largest share to the UN peacekeeping budget.
“We see the efforts China has spent in peacekeeping is growing very fast, and we want to strengthen our cooperation with Chinese peacekeepers,” he added.
The BRI, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.