Bilateral relations: As Pak-Iran ties grow, Saudis invite Khar

Published: December 20, 2012

Sources say kingdom pressuring Islamabad to drop gas import, pipeline project.

ISLAMABAD: 

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia soon after Riyadh voiced concerns over Pakistan’s rapidly growing economic and trade ties with neighbouring Tehran.

According to diplomatic sources, Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the United States, is pushing Islamabad to abandon its plan for importing natural gas from Iran.

Riyadh is also believed to be concerned over a recent move by Tehran offering crude oil to Pakistan on long-term deferred payments.

Tehran is reaching out to Islamabad in an effort to dispel the impression that it is facing international isolation in the wake of US economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.

It has not only offered to fund the Pakistani side of the pipeline but is also willing to support a number of other projects to help the country meet its energy requirements.

Pakistan, however, is under tremendous pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia. Recently, President Asif Ali Zardari delayed a scheduled trip to Iran.

Another

However, a foreign ministry official said President Zardari would visit Tehran and the government has no plans to abandon the Iran pipeline project.

Pakistan’s reluctance to bow to pressure has compelled Saudi Arabia to invite Foreign Minister Khar for urgent talks. Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim bin Salih Al Ghadeer extended an invitation to Khar on Wednesday to visit the kingdom at the earliest, according to a foreign ministry spokesperson.

In a meeting with the Saudi envoy, the foreign minister accepted the invitation and hoped her visit would further enhance ‘exemplary relations between the two brotherly countries.’

During her visit, she will hold formal talks with her Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.  Though the agenda of the proposed visit has not been made public, sources said discussions would focus on recent developments related to the growing ties between Iran and Pakistan.

Saudi

Sources said Saudi Arabia might offer Pakistan alternative options to meet its growing energy demands in return for pulling out of the Iran gas pipeline.

However, another official pointed out that Khar’s visit was also part of efforts by regional countries to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia also has a pivotal role in brokering a peace deal in Afghanistan. According to the roadmap recently unveiled by the Afghan High Peace Council, Riyadh is likely to host talks between the Taliban and Afghan government for the peace deal.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2012.

Reader Comments (50)

  • Clear Black Bag
    Dec 20, 2012 - 10:31AM

    “According to diplomatic sources, Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the United States, is pushing Islamabad to abandon its plan for importing natural gas from Iran.
    Riyadh is also believed to be concerned over a recent move by Tehran offering crude oil to Pakistan on long-term deferred payments.
    Tehran is reaching out to Islamabad in an effort to dispel the impression that it is facing international isolation in the wake of US economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.
    It has not only offered to fund the Pakistani side of the pipeline but is also willing to support a number of other projects to help the country meet its energy requirements.
    Pakistan, however, is under tremendous pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia. Recently, President Asif Ali Zardari delayed a scheduled trip to Iran.”

    Shame on such this type of comradeship which shows,displays,proves and represents US’ interests by Saudi Arab regarding Iran-Pakistan gas’ pipeline’s project and if this is so then why Saudi Arabia always has been saying this from a long time that Pakistan is our brother Islamic country whereas this is or has been unaffordable for Saudi Arabia to see Pakistan a sovereign,real independent and self-reliant country????
    Excellent Saudi Arabia now you are also speaking US’ language or talking to Pakistan in US’ language…..

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Dec 20, 2012 - 10:52AM

    Don’t listen to the Saudis. They are fronting for USA in this particular case. Otherwise we honor their support and friendship.

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  • LuvPak
    Dec 20, 2012 - 10:53AM

    An honest letter from Pak Citizen:
    Ms. Khar must ask her Saudi counter part to find the sources that are sending money to the extremists ideology in Pakistan and abolish them. Also She must ask for Saudi help in reversing the radicalization it initiated and funded for Afghan-Soviet war in Pak and Afghanistan. It must initiate the clean-up and try hard to stop the support of any Pak Islamic parties, group, person or institution of any kind who’s activities result in violence or disturbance of peace.

    Saudi Arabia has total power over Taliban and it's ambitions. Pakistan can not allow anymore for it's land to be used as battle ground for Saudi-Iran competition no matter what reward they can bestow on us. They must be told we have paid more than our share of foreign battles on our's & neighbor's ground with our blood and heavy social cost. That our generations will remain hostage for the decisions Pak has made. The dilemma is all Pak parties get funding from them one way or another. Who is going to stand-up to them?
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  • Qasim
    Dec 20, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Pakistan has been bleeding from Saudi blessings for decades. It would be wise to cut its dependence on Saudis and balance energy and security needs.

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  • Hussain
    Dec 20, 2012 - 11:26AM

    I fail to understand KSA’s problem ….y are they acting as US agents in the region … Pakistan has the right to trade with any country …. Y west and western proxy keep on giving us dictation

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  • Rana
    Dec 20, 2012 - 11:50AM

    KSA is playing true agent of US! It would be hard task to disobey for Pakistan. America proves to be the worst enemy on all fronts doing all efforts to hamper anything positive coming to our way.

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  • ManofSteel!
    Dec 20, 2012 - 11:55AM

    Dont know how can we say No to our big brother “Saudi Arabia”. we already owe them a lot! We seriously do(not only the saudis but the US too). Lets hope this meeting is about bringing Taliban to the table.

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  • Falcon
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:12PM

    For once, let’s do the right thing and stop taking our dictation from KSA…

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  • Kosher Nostra
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:19PM

    Saudi (Prince Bandar camp) want to be part of this alliance. As for Saudi (US/Israel camp) want Pakistan and KSA stay out of any alliance with Iran, China or Russia. Let see how it plays out.

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  • Tufan Agha
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Big NO To Saudi Arabia is an answer. Nawaz Sharif should close his business interests in Saudi Arabia and stop playing to the tunes of Arabian Knights.

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  • Pr0udPakistani
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:44PM

    It’s about time we should start thinking about our interests only and tell saudis to mind their own business. Pakistan has suffered a lot because of saudi intervention in our country’s politics. Enough is enough.

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  • PARDESI
    Dec 20, 2012 - 12:59PM

    Bulk of the problems in Pakistan is courtesy of Saudi Arabia. Wether it is through supporting Mujahideens, to supporting Taliban or allowing Saudi nationals and supporters to spread their version of Islam through brute force . Existense of Israel is courtesy of Saudia. Its a kingdom with no principle on one hand they will support Bahrain to supress an uprising supported by more than 80% of Bahrainians on the other hand it will fund the Syrian Al Qaeda to overthrow the Govt. Its a kingdom which will not use its muscle power for Palestenians but will covertly support Israel. The kingdom should not be listened to. As Islam says have good relations with your neighbors. Iran is a neighbor we need to have good relations with for our own prosperity, growth and peace.Recommend

  • Milind
    Dec 20, 2012 - 1:27PM

    Appears most of the bloggers are swept of their feet due to the parleys by Saudi leadership (on behest of U.S.). Well that’s realpolitik my dear friends.

    This has been going on for ages and will continue for ages to come. The Islamist Brotherhood in power in Egypt may make public statements identifying with Hamas, denouncing Israel, but secretly they’re wary of the Hamas and have in fact helped Israel by working out a ceasefire…
    Its only fools who dream of unity based on superficial concepts like religion. Only common interests matter…

    The Saudi’s have already parted ways with you by handling a couple of terrorists to India.
    Additionally, if I recall the Saudi’s are not enthusiastic about you folks, especially after they discovered that their king’s suite was bugged during one of their last stays in 2007 (read this from Pakistani newspapers…) The king left in a huff, cutting his visit short, without lavishing the generous tips/baksheesh on the hotel staffs (they used to eagerly look forward too). Given this no wonder if they find U.S. more trustworthy..

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  • kanwal
    Dec 20, 2012 - 1:27PM

    We have had enough of Saudi help in pak and afghanistan already and see where it has dragged down to. So thanks for the “alternate” plans saudia but we dont want anymore fruits of the “brotherly” love you have been seeding in our soil since ages. Lets try some new partners. Those who are not touts of USA may be?

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  • Realist
    Dec 20, 2012 - 2:04PM

    Pakistan breathes on the lifeline given to it each year by IMF. KSA also sells oil to Pakistan on subsidised rates. Its another matter that the benefit of those subsidies don’t reach the common man who is still paying East Pakistan flood tax included in oil prices. So, friends, Pakistan cannot afford to say No to the West and KSA. Pakistan would be on their doorstep soon again to ask for extension or more loans for next year.

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  • Z.Khan
    Dec 20, 2012 - 2:51PM

    Saudi Arabia considers Pakistan as its adopted baby. Being custodian of two holy places each Pakistani has built in respect for its King. Saudi Monarch also has deep rooted relations with political and military elite of Pakistan. Saudi Brand Islam is also at its peak in this country. Keeping in mind all these aspects it will now be a real test for PP led government to stand to the Saudi pressure. History reveals too much involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan by US and its allies like Saudi Arabia has caused more damage than betterment. Let us hope our leaders can appreciate the situation correctly and adopt the way considered better for Pakistan and not for the advantage of US and Saudi Arabia interests in the region

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  • Ali Asghar
    Dec 20, 2012 - 3:26PM

    Listening to Saudis and US is not in our interest in this particular case. moreover Pakistan should ask Saudis to Stop funding banned parties and groups on behalf of US in Pakistan.
    And I also want to ask electronic media why they are silenced over the Issue.

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  • Yousafzai
    Dec 20, 2012 - 3:31PM

    Well Done KSA, for the sake of US you want to create a space between two muslims countries very well, if you being a muslim brother doing so for US then what else we can expect from the non muslims. Instead that you need to support Pak-Iran friendship you are compelling Pak to cancel this project.

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  • Analyzer
    Dec 20, 2012 - 3:38PM

    The ONLY way that meeting would be fruitful is if they can agree that Saudi Arabia should export oil to Pakistan and Pakistan can export Saudi-funded extremists to Saudi Arabia.

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  • gujranwala789
    Dec 20, 2012 - 3:49PM

    I fully support Saudi Arabia´s positive efforts to curtail the rogue state of Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Pakistan will always be with Saudi arabia.

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  • Hassan Raza
    Dec 20, 2012 - 3:54PM

    Its high time to know our interests and cleanup our home with Jihad philosophy. We have had enough of Afghan war then Iran-Saudi proxy war with high cost of Pakistani lives and social norms. Must see in the positive direction with clear message of BIG NO for any new order-cum-instructions from US via Saudi. To be honest, i doubt too because people in Govt doesnot possess the ample guts to say this.

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  • Saleem
    Dec 20, 2012 - 4:08PM

    What is saudi contribution to the world? Petro dollar funded toxic ideology spreading trouble all over. It is time we said NO THANK YOU to them.Recommend

  • maestro
    Dec 20, 2012 - 4:35PM

    The Saudis gave us madrassahs preaching “wahabi” bedouin version of islam, sending us suicide bombers in exchange for a lil bit of oil. Pakistan and Iran are natural allies. oh, and btw, our female Foreign Minister likes to drive a car – would she be allowed to do that there? LOL. Frikkin hypocritical arabs.

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  • theBOy
    Dec 20, 2012 - 5:23PM

    saudi is right iran is wrong..khar shld ask help frm saudi..

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  • Ali
    Dec 20, 2012 - 5:52PM

    First the US and now the Saudis will not let us live.

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  • Liaqat Yousufzai
    Dec 20, 2012 - 5:58PM

    We should safeguard our national interest and i feel a bit ashamed why Khar is visiting Saudi Arabia. if they have any problem they should come to Pakistan and discuss their concerns. For their concerns we are visiting them. Slave master relationship.

    In PML(N) government, Pakistan becomes Saudi property. However PPPP Government is not with ease with SA but still bound by many factors and cannot pursue a free foreign policy. Let PTI n power and see how they find a solution.

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  • Syed
    Dec 20, 2012 - 6:34PM

    Saudi Arabia already gave us all the problems in the world. There was a report on DAWN that Saudi and UAE fund $10 million a year to pakistani deobandi madrassas. They want to spread their kind of Islam in Pakistan and they are actually doing a good job of it. Pakistan must end this relationship with Saudia if it wants to stand on its feet and eliminate the root cause of terrorism in their country. We rather have Iran and India as friends if we want to see prosperity in our country.

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  • Saleem
    Dec 20, 2012 - 6:56PM

    Despite all the money in the world the saudis are unable to run the affairs of their own country. Just because Islam originated in that part of the world does not mean they have a monoply on it. Their brand of religion is backward, extremist, and intolerant. If they were really sincere they would have helped muslim countries become self sufficient and reliant. Their true colours are seen in Europe and USA.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Dec 20, 2012 - 7:39PM

    @ManofSteel!:
    nonsense nothing else,this mind set of few has ruined this country in last 3 decades,we are in habit of playing against the ground reality under pressure of our big brother KSA and big friend USA.

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  • umar
    Dec 20, 2012 - 8:12PM

    why u not post my comment ?

    only saudi arabia is our friend in deed

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  • A J Khan
    Dec 20, 2012 - 8:24PM

    The comments and recommendations above clearly indicates that Pakistanis are fed up with the Saudi assisted terrorists ,madrissas and financial assistance to the terrorists. They are also fedup of the proxy war of arab-Iran on Pakistani soil.
    So please give us a break. Keep your petro dollars up your hole and let us suffer to recover on our own steam. Saudi Kingdom has become extremely unpopular in Pakistan for their role in promoting terrorism and extremism.

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  • imran
    Dec 20, 2012 - 8:40PM

    it is time for us to be independent of foreign influences…. we must keep religion and politics seperate… we must listen to all the offers not just saudis or iranians.. and we must curb the money that is going directly to madrassas…and madrassas shud b reformed … ENOUGH IS ENOUGH OF FOREIGN INFLUENCES IN OUR COUNTRY…..

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  • the obvious
    Dec 20, 2012 - 8:49PM

    The only reason Iran is offering Pakistan anything is because U.S. economic sanctions. These so called Pakistani interests only exist because U.S. pressure. Its funny, the whole world understands the concept but Pakistan.

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  • M. A. Changezi
    Dec 20, 2012 - 8:59PM

    The mess we see today in our motherland is cos of nobody else but Saudis and American. Pakistanis are bleeding cos we allowed these two countries to manipulate and use us as they desire. Let’s for once stand up and tel them to ** off and let us live the way want to. We love Pakistan and we want to see prosperous Pskistan. No more taking dictations. Period

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  • Vikas
    Dec 20, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @Ali:
    Include Indians and Ruskies also in them.

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  • Iftikhar Khan
    Dec 20, 2012 - 9:54PM

    Agree with almost all comments here. Saudis are funding terrorists in Pakistan. Pakistan should make decisions for their own benefits and interests (ie for the people not the select few) whoever they are dealing with.

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  • jahandad
    Dec 20, 2012 - 10:09PM

    we must put our national interests superior to any friendships or blessings,,,,,,saudi arabia is a rich country,,,it does not give any thing for free or discounts to pakistan,,,,on contrary it[ksa] wants pakistan to behave the way , a slave should,,,,,,,,saudi arabia has more than 3 million indians ,almost all of whome are illetrate shops honours earning[ stealing more than 2000 us dollors per person on average ]and contributing zero to saudi arabian development ,,because there are a very few indian labourers,,,,,,,,on contrast pakistanis are half just 1.5 million in number ,they build the buildings and roads plus highly skilled [ for better skilled than indians]man power in ksa,,,,,and they are the actual builders of ksa,,,,,,,,,but saudis hate pakistanis and prefer indians over pakistanis,,,,for every 5 indian visas only 1 pakistani visa is issued by interior ministry of ksa[government],,,,,if ksa wants it can change entire pakistan in just under 10 years,with no negative effects on kindom ,,,,,but they will not,,,,,,,REMEMBER,,,,,,,,,PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN ARE MADE FOOLED BY SOME FANATIC RELIGIOUS FIGURES ,WHO ENJOYS SAUDI MONEY,,,,,,AND SPREAD THE PROPAGANDA THAT KSA IS A MUSLIM SHARIAT FOLLOWER COUNTRY ,,,,,infact the truth is opposit majority more than 95% saudis are lustful sinful shamless muslims , who takes islam[religion] as tradition, not as a way of life [din],,,,,,,,SO LET THEM HAVE THEIR WAY AND WE SHOULD ONLY THINK OF OUR POOR MASSES,,,,whose kidneys are bought by rich saudis ,,,,,,,Recommend

  • gp65
    Dec 21, 2012 - 1:39AM

    MAdam Khar not wearing her scarf – eh?

    People who say Saudi Arabia is opposing the pipeline due to US pressure are clearly not recognizing that Saudi Arabia considers IRan as an enemy because it is a majority Shia country. So it is doing so for its own agenda not due to US agenda.

    Pakistan can ofcourse pursue the pipeline if it can find a way to fund it. China and Russia have backed out. PAkistan’s own bank and OGDC are also backing away from the project due to concern with US sanctions. So Pakistan simply does not have money to fund the pipeline. Moreover due to the sharp reduction in foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan government knows that sooner rather than later it needs the IMF loan which is impossible to get if PAkistan goes ahead with the pipeline. So Pakistan will not go ahead with the pipeline in its own self-interest. All this is just posturing to fool trusting Pakistani citizens.

    One more thing. Until you depend on aid and free weapons from US and subsidized petrol from Saudi Arabia, you will have to follow what they say. IT is upto you what is more important to you – love your own countrymen or enmity with India (which keeps you dependent on US and KSA). You cannot have both.

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  • Mazher Mehboob
    Dec 21, 2012 - 2:17AM

    I really doubt if USA is asking Saudia..Its just an old age rivaliry of Iran and Saudia. Pakistan shoud grow out of it by now. You are more than 60 years old to understand global politics. It does not contained to US & Israel

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  • jamshed kharian-pak
    Dec 21, 2012 - 4:09AM

    Great Package of Gifts to Pakistan from the Islamic Republic Of Iran a Powerful & Islamic Revolutionary Land we Pakistanis are lucky in these dificult days! linguisticaly tradiotionaly culturaly racealy ethenicaly we are very close to Iranians! Railway connection Pipeline connection Business ports at westren frontiers very very good news only if we can understands! Other side are Arabs! of course we Pakistanis are Majorty Muslims we pray towards Magreb Makka Sharif Our Holly Land Arabia of Mohammad Pbuh Arabia ksa there are Arab Springs grand great majority of Arab countries are in Mess! Arab League is Failed! Secular Arab Redpublic Of Syria is under dustruction by the Feudals! kings Sultans Amirs without any democracy! so the Govts in Arab countries will change sooner later without any doubt For the Islamic Republc Of Pakistn its better to have Relations with stable countries like socialist China, Democratic Hindoustan, Islamic Iran we shall see and study Arab Spring where it gose! this is in the Interests of Pakistan to have very strong ties with IR Iran Even Usa is very very temporary in Our Region After killing 1-One Millions of Iraqis Dustruction of Afghanistan Drone Attacking & Killings of thousands of Muslim Pakistanis its time we Say STOP!

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  • vasan
    Dec 21, 2012 - 6:38AM

    Jahandad. You have been thoroughly processed in a centrifuge. Still I suggest you think about why Pakistanis are treated the way you mentioned by Saudi, and Indians, inspite of your accusations of shop lifting, are welcome.
    and remember KSA is not alone in treating Pakistanis the way you have mentioned.

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  • The Khan
    Dec 21, 2012 - 6:52AM

    @jahandad:
    I don’t know where you get your stats from. Saudi government doesn’t issue stats. Most are predicted. But last time i heard, Pakistanis are coming in thousands with huge pays etc

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  • Sultan Khan
    Dec 21, 2012 - 8:29AM

    As Saudi Arabia needs us very badly and now after more than 60 years we are in no need of Saudi Arabia so its the proper time to break all relations with KSA. If we do so then certainly they shall be coming to us begging for our support for their survival. Moreover, we should also order all the Pakistani expatriates working in KSA to come to Pakistan thereby collapsing the Saudi economy and send them to Mehmud Ahmedi Nejad who will appoint them on lucrative posts in Tehran. But be careful about the exchange rate. Nowadays one dollar is equal to 30000 Irani Riyals. Also tell me a single country where Pakistanis are respected and honoured.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Dec 21, 2012 - 9:00AM

    @umar:
    see nobody has liked your comments so revisit your mind and read what KSA/USA has done to you,for them we have sold us,lost our unity,faith and discipline now we are just people and not a nation

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  • Curios
    Dec 21, 2012 - 10:00AM

    All the comments here bashing KSA, are just based on the things heard from here and there. I think one need to come up with actual facts and figures before leveling allegations of such nature.
    Though, if people are refering to aid we availed during Afghan war, then USA was the major culprit in this case. I’m not here to advocate KSA, but want to see atleast some people talking sensibly, supporting the stuff, what they are posting here.

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  • Say What?
    Dec 21, 2012 - 10:43AM

    Saudi Kingdom is demolishing with speed, one historical Islamic remnant after another in the name of better business, from early Islamic eras. Our prominent religious leaders who worship the kingdom are actually live on Saudi funding. Money can buy anything we see everyday and we have become so desperate for modern life, not even our religious guides are safe from it.

    Just couple years back the Kingdom's Heir congratulated India at their national Arms Parade which she is pilling up also to challenge Pakistan existence in future. Not just that He also asked Pakistan at that moment to rethink it's claim on Kashmir and work to include India in the Organization of Islamic Countries. You tell me who will he hire for jobs there?
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  • habib
    Dec 21, 2012 - 11:12AM

    when there was a country by the name of Hijaz; there was Islam, peace, brotherhood, tolerance and harmony. But when it was invaded by Saudis, there is now extremism, terrorism, hatred towards other sect. Why Saudis are funding and supporting just one particular brainwashed minds.?? This Abdulyahood and other saud’s family never deserve to call them the friend of muslim, they have always been working for Israeli’s and American interests.

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  • Leila
    Dec 21, 2012 - 9:49PM

    It is really insulting to Pakistanis that Saudis are trying to dictate to a nuclear armed nation of 190 million proud people. The foreign minister needs to ask Saudis: “Kis ne tum ko yeh haq dia hai, keh is lahjeh mein baat karo hamereh sath?” Make sure it is said in Urdu for maximum efficacy. Also Saudis have to be reminded that millions of Pakistani have trouble cooking food for their children because of gas shortages and millions more have trouble to get to work because of lack of CNG, millions more have lost jobs because of severe electricity shortages and still more fertilizer factories are closing down in an agricultural country because of natural gas shortage.

    All these are happening while our Saudi “brothers” are enjoying their lives afloat over an ocean of oil. Would they care to offer a million barrel of oil per day for Pakistan half the market price? Would US care to offer the same nuclear deal they gave to India in order to solve Pakistan’s energy problem? I thought so no. Then just build this pipeline and let the enemies of Pakistan burn from inside.

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  • Dec 22, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Pakistan’s best interest is not in defying Saudis and Americans to buy expensive Iranian gas and end up with crippling sanctions which could be much worse than its current energy crisis. Its best interests will be served by developing its own cheap domestic shale gas on an accelerated schedule with Saudi investment and US tech know-how. If the Americans and the Saudis refuse to help, then Pakistan will have a stronger case to go with the Iran gas option.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/04/pakistans-shale-gas-with-us-ksa-help.html

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  • Leila
    Dec 22, 2012 - 11:39PM

    Mr. Riaz Haq,

    Saudi influence in Pakistan has caused huge problems. We certainly do not need any more Saudi “investments”. Today, police officers and a member of parliament have been killed by people nurtured on Saudi “investment”. Pakistan’s total gas reserves are fast dwindling and is not enough for 190 million people. Pakistan’s shale gas reserves are also very small and UNPROVEN. Pakistan needs to balance its international relations. It also needs lots of energy. This has to start with oil and gas pipelines from Iran. Enough of this Saudis and US “investment” which has been going on for the past 40 years. It is now time for us to go back to our roots which have much in common with Iran and Iranian culture than with Bedouin and American culture.

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