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Army chief Gen Asim Munir offers prayers inside Holy Kaaba

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, who is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, visited Makkah to perform Umrah where the doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for him, The News reported Monday.

In a video posted on Instagram, Gen Munir could be seen walking out of the Holy Kaaba with some other people. The army chief wore a black jacket and pants.

It was reported that the doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for the top general in a display of extraordinary hospitality, local media reported. Gen Munir, who is a Hafiz-e-Quran, offered prayers inside Kaaba.

Another clip shows the army chief visiting Masjid-e-Nabawi (SAW), the second holiest mosque in Islam, with Saudi security personnel escorting him.

The newly-appointed army chief is on an official visit to the Kingdom and United Arab Emirates (UAE) from January 4-10. 

This is Gen Munir’s first official trip outside of Pakistan ever since he took charge as the army chief.

Gen Munir meets crown prince 

Earlier today, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that Gen Munir met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and discussed bilateral relations between the brotherly nations. 

The SPA shared pictures of the crown prince’s reception for the army chief at his “winter camp” in the Saudi city of AlUla.

According to the SPA, the army chief and the Saudi crown prince reviewed bilateral relations and opportunities, in addition to a number of issues of common interest.

The state news agency reported that the reception was also attended by Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and National Security Adviser Dr Musaed bin Muhammad al Aiban.

On January 5, COAS Gen Munir met with Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman in Riyadh where the two discussed matters of mutual interest. 

At the outset of the meeting, the Saudi minister congratulated Gen Munir on his appointment as the new army chief.

“During the meeting, they emphasised the strength and durability of bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries, and discussed military and defence cooperation, and ways to support and enhance them, in addition to discussing the most important regional and international issues of common interest,” the SPA said.

Later, Saudi Defence Minister Khalid Bin Salman also shared his picture with the visiting Pakistan army chief.

“We emphasised the strategic partnership between our brotherly countries, reviewed the bilateral military and defence relations, and discussed ways of strengthening our cooperation,” he tweeted.

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Zaidong, the ambassador, said China will fully back Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations.

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Reaffirming on Thursday that China will provide Pakistan with unwavering support in its fight against terrorism is Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong.

In an interview that was broadcast on television, the ambassador promised to cooperate with Pakistan and said that China will protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the two friendly nations.

Zaidong underscored that efforts to undermine the two nations’ bilateral relationship would be thwarted by China’s cooperation with Pakistan.

Also, he emphasized how crucial China-Pakistan relations have become strategically given the changing nature of the world.

In highlighting the transformative impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ambassador reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to seeing it through.

In addition to creating thousands of employment, he said, “the CPEC has facilitated significant advancements in power generation and transportation infrastructure with over $25 billion in direct investments and substantial infrastructure development.”

Zaidong stressed the value of sharing ideas and knowledge between Pakistan and China, acknowledging their shared security objectives.

Stressing that both countries have a common future, he envisioned their partnership having a greater social impact.

Concerning the terrorist attack on Chinese nationals [working on the Dasu dam], the ambassador expressed gratitude to the Pakistani people for their condolences and sympathy and commended the government for its prompt action.

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Mild rain in Lahore improves the weather

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Early on Friday, light rain in the province capital Lahore and its surrounding areas improved the weather.

But rain also led to power outages in several areas of Lahore, as multiple feeders of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) blew, leaving whole sections of the city without power.

Details show that rain was observed in a number of locations throughout the city, including Model Town, Gulberg, Garden Town, Mall Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Gulshan Ravi, Jail Road, and Sanda.

However, the Met Office has forecasted an additional day of rain for the city during the next 24.

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The government will begin coordinated action against lawbreakers in the Katcha region

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On Friday, Mohsin Naqvi, the interior minister, announced that the government would begin a coordinated operation in the Katcha region to eradicate the miscreants for good.

He stated that collaborative efforts in the Katcha region will make use of contemporary technologies, including drones.

According to Mohsin Naqvi, all security agencies, including the police, should make sure that SOPs are fully implemented in order to protect Chinese nationals living in Pakistan.

He declared that any carelessness in this respect will not be accepted at all while presiding over a meeting to review the National Action Plan’s implementation at NACTA headquarters in Islamabad.

According to Naqvi, failure to follow the SOPs for the safety of foreign nationals will result in severe disciplinary action.

“We have to outfit our departments with cutting-edge technology to eradicate terrorism,” stated the interior minister. He declared that the provinces will receive all the assistance from the federation in this area.

Anti-state forces will be permanently driven out of the Katcha region, according to Naqvi. The interior minister expressed satisfaction with the anti-smuggling operations and stated that all ministries need to make sure that smugglers face stern legal action.

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