ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Bin Ahmed al Jubeir is arriving in Islamabad today (Thursday) to share details with Pakistani authorities regarding the newly-formed alliance of Islamic countries against terrorism and extremism.
Jubeir was originally supposed to visit last Sunday but delayed his trip due to the situation arising out of escalation in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the Kingdom.
The Saudi minister will meet Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz during his stay. He will also call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif.
His visit comes at a time when Pakistan is trying to follow a delicate path in order to preempt any negative fallout of rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
A senior official told The Express Tribune that Pakistan is seeking a de-escalation of tensions between the two key Muslim countries and that it is ready to act as a mediator instead of taking sides.
Officially, Pakistan voiced deep concerns over the Saudi-Iran row and warned that dark forces of extremism and terrorism could take advantage of this division between the Muslim countries.
This supercharged atmosphere has even put Pakistan in the tight corner as far as its role in the Saudi-led 34-nation alliance is concerned, which is going to be the main talking point between Jubeir and authorities in Islamabad.
After initial confusion, Pakistan announced its participation in the alliance but said the scope of its participation was yet to be decided.
Sources said the Saudi foreign minister will share details of the alliance.
The alliance does not include countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2016.