Saudi-Iran row: Pakistan will put its own interests first, says Sartaj Aziz

Published: January 9, 2016
Adviser to Prime Minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and federal minister for information and broadcasting, Pervez Rashid talking to media persons in Lahore on January 9, 2016. PHOTO: APP

Adviser to Prime Minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and federal minister for information and broadcasting, Pervez Rashid talking to media persons in Lahore on January 9, 2016. PHOTO: APP

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday made it clear that Pakistan will put its national and territorial interests first before deciding to play a role in the Saudi-Iran row.

“As of now, the issue seems sectarian in nature and we will protect our interests to make sure the row does not evolve into a sectarian conflict in our own country,” Aziz said while talking to media in Lahore alongside federal information minister Pervez Rashid.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are at a tense standoff following a prominent Shia cleric’s execution by the former on January 2.

Pakistan welcomes Saudi ‘anti-terror’ coalition

“Pakistan is waiting for the right time to play the role of a mediator,” said the adviser.

While cautioning that terrorists can take advantage of the standoff between the two countries, Aziz said “Muslim world must also play its due role in diffusing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

Saudi Arabia says 47 executed on terror charges, including top Shia cleric

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan said it will extend full support to the Saudi-led Islamic coalition if its sole purpose is to fight terrorism and is not against any specific country. The statement came following a meeting of Pakistani civil and military leadership with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister.

Pak-India talks still intact

Commenting on the fate of the scheduled talks between Pakistan and India following the terror attack on Indian Air Force base in Pathankot , Aziz said Pakistan is investigating the incident while a planned meeting for the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India was still in place.

Aziz said India has neither confirmed nor cancelled the talks, Radio Pakistan reported.

Foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet on January 15, he added.

Earlier on Thursday, India had warned of calling off the upcoming foreign secretary talks in the wake of the Pathankot air base attack.

Without giving any deadline, Vikas Swarup, the Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said talks would be held only if Pakistan made good on its promise to “promptly and decisively” act on the evidence provided to Islamabad on the Pathankot attacker.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Cain
    Jan 9, 2016 - 8:16PM

    how can it not turn into a sectarian conflict when GOPakistan officials only met with Saudi officials? how about showing some impartiality and integrity; meet with the Iranian officials or even have a well publicized meeting with the Iranian ambassador instead of the one sided farce that is being played out in our national media. Stoking the embers of sectarian hate.Recommend

  • Shane
    Jan 10, 2016 - 4:53AM

    How come Pakistanis not met with Iran, which is a better neighbor than Saudi, who think Pakistanis their personal assistant and slavesRecommend

  • faisal
    Jan 10, 2016 - 5:48AM


    govt of pak officials have met only saudis because saudis have bothered to come here and discuss the issues while Iranian supreme leader who has some kind of false god complex thinks everyone should bow down to him so no explanation needed from his side.

    it is good that pak,saudi and others are trying their best to keep sectarianism out of the situation but iranian lobbies are trying to create a sectarian war like situation. iran’s use of sectarianism as a foreign policy and strategic tool will hurt shias more than anyone. its time shias in pak, iran and all over the world denounce khomenism like overwhelming sunni majority rejects alqaida or daesh/isis.Recommend

  • McCain
    Jan 10, 2016 - 5:53AM

    Cain, if you speak for the Irani state at any level then pray communicate to them at some level to show humility when Pakistan approaches Iran for mediation. Last time Pakistan offered its good offices during Yemen crisis and they were too arrogant to take it. This time Pak is ready to give it another shot. Better start practicing humility then. Recommend

  • dilber
    Jan 10, 2016 - 4:07PM

    it was iran who accepted pakistan meditation in yemen while saudi were haughty and did not listen to us. they anounced our participation in the battle like we were their slaves or mercenaries or they owned us. now iran treating us like their equal but saudi say pakistan is our slave how dare it think of meditaion. even uae threaten us.Recommend

  • Jan 10, 2016 - 11:54PM

    Iran and Saudi Arabia should grow up now….there relationship is not like India and PakistanRecommend

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