Pakistan, Saudi Arabia reaffirm commitment to Afghan women’s rights

Reaffirming the fraternal relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Monday reiterated their mutual commitment to further enhance and deepen bilateral cooperation across all areas of mutual interest.

FM Bilawal, during a telephonic conversation with the Saudi foreign minister, thanked the leadership of the Kingdom for its valuable flood relief assistance to Pakistan, the Foreign Office said in a press statement.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the recent developments in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed the importance of guaranteeing women’s rights and their full and equal participation in all aspects of life.

They also reiterated their support for security, stability, and peace in Afghanistan and the importance of international engagement for building a more sustainable future for the Afghan people.

Read more: More NGOs halt Afghan work after Taliban ban on women staff

FM Bilawal apprised his Saudi counterpart of the upcoming International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, which is being held in Geneva on January 9, 2023.

The Saudi foreign minister conveyed the Kingdom’s strong support for all initiatives aimed at strengthening and reinforcing Pakistan’s post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

The conversation between the two leaders came as top officials from the United Nations and dozens of NGOs operating in Afghanistan met in Kabul to discuss a way ahead after the Taliban's latest restrictions delivered a blow to humanitarian work across the country.

Afghanistan's Taliban-run administration on December 24 ordered all local and foreign NGOs to stop female employees from coming to work, according to an economy ministry letter, in the latest crackdown on women's freedoms.

The Ministry of Economy threatened to suspend the operating licences of NGOs if they failed to implement the order.

The ministry, which issues these licences, said it had received "serious complaints" that women working in NGOs were not observing a proper Islamic dress code.

Following the order, six foreign aid groups, including Save the Children, announced that they were suspending their operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban order.

A day earlier, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the Afghan Taliban’s announcement, saying that the ban is “self-defeating and disserving the interests of Afghan people”.

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