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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi embassy confirms – No Ban on Qatari pilgrims to perform Hajj, Umrah

ISLAMABAD: The Saudi embassy has confirmed for no ban on the citizens of Qatar to perform Hajj or Umrah. They pleasantly welcome Qatari pilgrims and will support them to offer them full facilities like before. According to Saudi embassy spokesman, since first day it was decided by kingdom to split diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar. However, they confirmed their contemplation towards the Qatari brothers and to assist them in order to perform their rituals with ease. This, it added, has been done despite the…

Saudi Arabia must ban discrimination against women: UN rights panel

GENEVA: A UN rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia on Monday to end discriminatory practices against women, including its pervasive system of male guardianship, and give them full access to justice. After reviewing the deeply conservative kingdom’s record, the independent experts welcomed recent decisions to allow women to launch their own businesses and to lift a de facto ban on them driving a car, set for June. Saudi Arabia is still one of the most restrictive countries for women in the world. It has no women…

A house divided: How Saudi Crown Prince purged royal family rivals

BEIRUT/RIYADH: The first hint that something was amiss came in a letter. On Saturday Nov. 4, guests at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton were notified by the opulent hotel that: “Due to unforeseen booking by local authorities which requires an elevated level of security, we are unable to accommodate guests ... until normal operations are restored.” The purge was already under way. Within hours security forces had rounded up dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite, mostly in the capital and the coastal city…

Saudi Arabian Airlines resumes flying to Iraq after 27 years

DUBAI: State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines said it will start flying regularly to Iraq on Monday after a 27-year halt, state news agency SPA said. The carrier’s director general, Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser, will accompany reporters and passengers on the first flight to depart from the Saudi city of Jeddah to Baghdad, SPA said late on Sunday. There have been no flights between Saudi Arabia and Iraq since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are…

Saudi Arabia suspends any dialogue with Qatar: SPA

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Saturday suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by the telephone with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Friday when they discussed the Gulf dispute, state media from both countries reported earlier. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar…

Ghilaf-e-Kaaba changed as pilgrims gather at Mount Arafat

MAKKAH: The annual ceremony to change the Ghilaf-e-Kaaba (Kiswah) held today at the Grand Mosque of Makkah (Masjid-Al-Haram) in Saudi Arabia as more than two million faithful started converging at Mount Arafat to listen to Hajj sermon. The Kiswah, a heavy silk cloth embroidered with Quaranic verses in golden embroidery, covers the Kaaba annually on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day pilgrims leave for the plains of Mount Arafat during the Hajj. It is made from 670kg silk with about 150 kg pure gold used on…

Saudi police release teenager detained for dancing in street

DUBAI: A 14-year-old boy who was detained by Saudi police for dancing to the song "Macarena" at a traffic intersection has been released with a warning about road safety, the interior ministry said on Wednesday. The boy was filmed dancing to the catchy 1990s hit song in front of five lanes of cars stopped at a traffic light, in a clip widely shared on social media. Police had said the teenager, whose name and nationality were not given, was being questioned because he had shown "improper public behavior" and disrupted…

Ahsan Iqbal breaks silence over his Saudi work permit

ISLAMABAD: As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s admitted his employment with UAE-based firm, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has also confirmed holding the Kingdom’s work/residence permit for two years following the pictures of his work permit went viral on social media. Expressing no regrets in a tweet he admitted of working and staying in Saudi Arabia as what he said: “For anyone who is blessed to live and work in Madinah it is a natural desire to keep Madinah resident status for as long as one…