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Friday, September 4, 2009

Saudis will Intervene in Pakistan (if asked)

ISLAMABAD, Sept 3: Saudi Arabia does not want Pakistan’s political parties to fight each other, but will intervene to reconcile them only if asked to play such a role, the country’s envoy said on Thursday.

“Political wrangling between parties in Pakistan is the country’s internal matter. But if our brothers ask us to intervene, our doors will always be open for them,” Ambassador Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al Ghadeer told Dawn.

The statement came against the backdrop of a series of meetings in Riyadh related to Pakistan’s political scene, including former president Pervez Musharraf and Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s meetings with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and other senior functionaries. Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif also plans to visit Saudi Arabia.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Sharif had advised against involving Saudis in Pakistan’s internal politics.

Ambassador Ghadeer said the political imbroglio demanded of all parties to sit down to resolve their differences -- something which can be facilitated by Saudi Arabia as an ‘elder brother’.

The envoy emphasised that Saudi Arabia was interested in extending a helping hand because it feared that the wrangling among politicians could have serious repercussions for Pakistan’s interests and could be detrimental to its stability.

“Our main concern is to have a stable, safe and secure Pakistan,” he said, adding that this Saudi policy had remained consistent over the years.

He suggested that it was difficult for Saudi Arabia to remain indifferent to Pakistan and it was wrong to assume that Saudis didn’t care about what happened here.

The ambassador made it clear that his country did not have any favourites in Pakistani politics and said it had links with all the parties.

“We have relations with all the leaders for Pakistan’s sake and that is very important.”

BILATERAL TIES: Ambassador Ghadeer, who took over on July 22, said he would work for expanding ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He said he would focus on improving relations in trade, economy and investment. The envoy, who has held detailed discussions with the authorities and the chambers of commerce and industry, said he would launch special efforts in this regard after Eidul Fitr. He asked Pakistani businessmen to come up with a clear roadmap for seeking Saudi investment.

From here.

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