No complaints from KSA over gifted watch: FO

The Foreign Office on Thursday said that it was not aware of any complaint from the Saudi authorities about the wristwatch given to PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan as a gift.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told journalists during her weekly briefing that no written or verbal complaints were received from the Saudi authorities about the gift thus far.

Regarding the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan, the FO spokesperson said the trip was in the works. She said the Foreign Office never announced the dates of the visit or cancellation of the visit.

“The visit is being rescheduled and new dates of the visit are being firmed up in consultation with the Saudi side. This visit holds great importance as this would be HRH’s first visit to Pakistan after assuming his Office as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Mumtaz added.

“The highlight of the visit would be the holding of the second meeting of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC) and signing of a number of MoUs covering various areas including economic, trade, culture and investment etc,” she maintained.

She also said that an international donors’ conference to seek funds for the flood victims in Pakistan will likely be held in Geneva.

“Yes, discussions are underway and the conference most probably would take place in Geneva. Once the dates are finalised, we will share with you,” Mumtaz told reporters at her maiden press briefing after she was appointed as the Foreign Office spokesperson.

The conference is expected to be jointly hosted by the United Nations and France. Initially it was thought the donors’ conference might take place in Paris.

Floods triggered by unprecedented monsoon rains have affected 33 million people. Certain parts of the Sindh province are still under water as the onset of winters has further compounded the problems for flood-hit people.

Pakistan’s estimates put the number of losses at $30 billion with $16 billion needed for the reconstruction phase.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been saying to the international community that Pakistan needs funds and not debt. Observers believe that acquiring such huge amount of money would be a challenge for the country.

When asked whether the country had been successful in convincing the international community, the spokesperson said that Pakistan had effectively highlighted its stance not only at COP27 but also during UNGA proceedings and various bilateral interactions that took place at different levels ever since floods hit the country.

“We have highlighted the devastating impact of climate change on developing countries including Pakistan. There is an international recognition that Pakistan is one of the worst affected countries by climate change,” she said.

“The threat of climate change is not limited to Pakistan. What we are experiencing today could happen anywhere,” she stressed.

Regarding the Chaman incident, the spokesperson said the matter was taken up with the Afghan authorities.

On November 13, an unknown assailant opened fire on the Pakistani security personnel posted at Chaman border crossing point which led to the martyrdom of one Pakistani soldier and injuries to others, she said.

The CCTV footage, however, suggested that the assailant seemed to be an Afghan Taliban member.

“The matter has been raised with the Afghan authorities and is currently under investigation. Pedestrians who were stranded at the border have been allowed to cross and we remain vigilant and actively involved on the matter,” she said.

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