Pakistan to name focal person for resolving Saudi-Iran conflict

Published: January 19, 2016
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on January 19, 2016. PHOTO: PM OFFICE

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on January 19, 2016. PHOTO: PM OFFICE

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on January 19, 2016. PHOTO: PM OFFICE Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, army chief General Raheel Sharif meet Iranian officials in Tehran on January 19, 2016. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday he considered ending the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran a sacred mission, Express News reported.

“Pakistan will appoint a focal person for the resolution of the issue and will ask the two countries also designate focal persons [to resolve the issue],” he said while talking to media after the meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.

PM Nawaz said Riyadh and Tehran were cognizant of the threat of terrorism and extremism, adding the Muslim world needed to bring unity in their ranks.

He added, “Pakistan is proud to have taken up role of a mediator.”

The prime minister and army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Tehran following their brief visit to Saudi Arabia in a bid to mend ties between the arch-rivals.

A meeting was also held between General Raheel and Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan, during which matters of regional security came under discussion.

Pakistan urges Riyadh, Tehran to re-engage

The COAS reiterated that Pakistan considered Iran an important neighbour, and the people of Pakistan gave great affinity with the people of Iran.

COAS General Raheel Sharif met Defence Minister of Iran Hossein Dehghan on January 19, 2016. PHOTO: PID

He asserted that terrorism was a global threat, which had the potential of destabalising the region and requires a coordinated response.

The COAS also met Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani who is also military advisor to the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenai.

According the ISPR, matters related to regional security were discussed during the meeting.

The COAS said regional security and stability is paramount and stressed the need for opening up of communication channels between Iran and KSA to diffuse tension.

General Raheel said in order to counter emerging threats, greater Muslim unity is need of the hour.

“Menace of terrorism can only be addressed through coordinated response.”

Pakistan urges Riyadh, Tehran to re-engage

Earlier in Saudi Arabia, the premier expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of tensions between the two nations, while calling for a resolution of differences through peaceful means in the larger interest of the Muslim population.

The prime minister recalled Pakistan’s consistent policy of promoting brotherhood among the brother states of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation.

During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on various facets of enduring cooperation with regard to the Saudi initiative of formation of the coalition of Islamic countries against terrorism.

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


Tensions have been on the rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran ever since the execution of leading Shia cleric Nimr al Nimr by Riyadh earlier this month.

The Saudi move led to the storming of its diplomatic missions in Iran.The two countries then severed their diplomatic ties. Some other Arab countries also cut off ties with Iran.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 19, 2016 - 3:41PM

    So not a single high level minister was present at the airport. Also Iranian media is clearly stating that Iranian supreme leader has no time to meet and only the president of Iran will meet the duo. Iranians are infact full of so called past Pride. If Saudia is a trouble maker then Iran is also not our friend. But Iran is always disrespectful when it comes to any forging of relationships between two countries. Recommend

  • bilal
    Jan 19, 2016 - 3:54PM

    Its international relations – no room for niceties. Pakistan has taken a morally correct stance. It should be respected by Iran. We’re not expecting a red carpet roll-out but Iran should understand that it cannot, must not contribute further to regional instability. The repercussions would definitely reverberate across the region.
    The message is loud and clear. The Supreme leader is sure to pick it up.Recommend

  • Muhammad Kashif
    Jan 19, 2016 - 4:34PM

    @ All,

    Iran should realize that their oil supply will absolutely reduce further the oil prices, but not a single barrel will be exported from Alaska or USA with their supply. Iran should act as a brotherhood with Saudia and other muslim countries, Their leaders should meet Pakistani leadership with same motivation to reduce tensions in the region. In the jungle of 21st century Iran should boast as big brother , rather making nuclear deals and changing skin like snake.Recommend

  • U-turn
    Jan 19, 2016 - 5:13PM

    @Malik Saab:

    You’ve got the wrong info. They are supposed to meet Khamenei. Lets wait and see before drawing conclusions.Recommend

    Jan 19, 2016 - 5:14PM

    KSA is supporting all terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq Recommend

  • Someone
    Jan 19, 2016 - 5:17PM

    @Malik Saab: There was a delegation of high level officials at the airport, so not sure where you get your news from. And if the President of Iran and Defence Minister are not relevant or “high” enough, then I don’t know what your definition of “high” is.Recommend

  • ali
    Jan 19, 2016 - 5:40PM

    The Iranian Islamic Revolution is just ISIS in disguise.Recommend

  • M.S.
    Jan 19, 2016 - 8:43PM

    Instead of talking to deaf ears, PM should visit his own country where our people are dying in bomb blasts and children death rate is highest in the world.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jan 19, 2016 - 9:02PM

    How can Saudi lead a coalition to fight ISIS – the very group it spawned and supported across Syria and Iraq?

    If the Sharifs are serious about mediating, they need to show Saudis the mirror. Iran didn’t create ISIS – the Saudis did.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jan 19, 2016 - 9:06PM

    @ali: reality check. Saudis follow Wahhabi ideology. ISIS follows wahhabi ideology. Saudi is anti Shia. ISIS is anti Shia. Saudi beheads people for dissent. ISIS beheads people for dissent. Saudis promote takfir. ISIS promotes takfir… Shall I keep going?Recommend

  • Jey Sindh
    Jan 19, 2016 - 9:29PM

    Iran is a loser. It is in wrong company. Indians are proding them against Arabs & Pakistan while they themselves desperately enticing GCC Arabs.

    Since 1979, it has only fought wars which most of them it lost. Got 100,000s killed, spent billions on nuclear program which finally it gave up ( half heartedly) , ran a proxy in Pakistan,
    is spending billions on Chahabhar only to allow India to reach central Asia, expanded unnecessarily into Yemen and Syria leading to present stand-off with Saudi Arabia.

    What you make of it ???? Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 19, 2016 - 10:11PM

    This entire trip is an exercise in futility and a folly. Best we get our own house in order rather than entertain pretensions of a regional mover and shaker.Recommend

  • just_someone
    Jan 19, 2016 - 10:51PM

    Iranian Supreme Leader Khomaini should have made time for the Pak delegation.
    I wouldnt say it is insulting that he didnt but I would say it shows that Pak have lots of work to do if they want to mediate.Recommend

  • I. Khan
    Jan 19, 2016 - 11:00PM

    I believe Saudi Arabia is playing a big game , King Salman is using Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Military to intimidate and warn Iran. I am sure Pakistan will politely caution Iran that Pakistan Military will be with Saudi forces in case of an armed confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Jan 19, 2016 - 11:08PM

    Pakistan should give up the habit of punching above its weight. The Saudis & Iranians have no reason to listen to Pakistan as it has absolutely no leverage with either country. Pakistani leaders should instead work towards getting their own country in order & repair the country’s tarnished image globally. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 19, 2016 - 11:16PM

    As a pragmatic diplomatic move this effort was a worthy exercise.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jan 20, 2016 - 12:06AM

    @Malik Saab:
    Iran distanced itself from Pakistan only after General Zia embraced KSA. Also, Iran was tied up with a war with Iraq – and our Saudi friends supported Saddam as he used chemical weapons against Iran.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Jan 20, 2016 - 1:08AM

    Good statesmanship by PM Nawaz .

    Good to take the army along , lest the ISPR starts tweeting right , left and centre about things beyond his competency or domainRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Jan 20, 2016 - 2:34AM

    For those blaming either Iran or saudi Arabia. .. this is precisely the problem…. you need to take a step back and stop blaming each party. It is important that this tension does not escalate. Although I am not a fan of Nawaz sharif, I think it is a very wise move. Whether this is successful or not, someone needs to try.Recommend

  • Humza
    Jan 20, 2016 - 7:09AM

    @Haji Atiya: I don’t know about you but the sense I get from the world media is that Pakistan’s role in trying to act as a mediator is seen positively. Pakistan doesn’t have to entertain any pretensions of being anything. It is trying to broker an understanding in good faith with two countries that matter to it regionally. As a democratic Muslim nation, it already has the international respect that many other nations which are not democracies lack.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Jan 20, 2016 - 7:13AM

    There is talk that Asif Zardari will be named the focal party as he possesses that rare ability to bring conflicting parties to see eye-to-eye. Moreover, his negotiating abilities get into extremely high gear when he perceives there is a huge potential ( over and above 10% ) cut for him.Recommend

  • Riaz
    Jan 20, 2016 - 10:08AM

    Resolved problems as per Islamic education.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 20, 2016 - 11:06AM

    @Humza: In what respect is Pakistan a democracy ? Is there universal suffrage ?
    Of course not, since it basically amounts to ‘elections’ done through a select inner circle or group of circles. Brokering an agreement has been forced upon the current leadership (civilian +military) due to their flip-flop stances and perception of being caught between a rock and a hard place !Recommend

  • B
    Jan 20, 2016 - 3:43PM

    @Haji Atiya:
    I feel sorry for youRecommend

  • The Realist
    Jan 20, 2016 - 5:09PM

    @Malik Saab: Please stop sreading disinformation. Per Iranian press release “Sharif, who is heading a high-ranking delegation, was welcomed at Tehran Mehrabad airport by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan on Tuesday.” Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 20, 2016 - 5:34PM

    Better redirect your sorrow on the sorry state of affairs of the country.Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 20, 2016 - 8:20PM

    Dear All, The issue is not of ‘who is who’ or ‘what is one’. It is about peace and harmony in the region. If Pakistan has taken the initiative, it must be appreciated and the effort supported. The clash between Persians and Arabs, which this will turn into if it flares up ( God forbid) , is in no one’s interest.We have seen the contoversy over ‘Persian Gulf /Arabian Gulf’.

    There may be forces around who may not want peace in the region as it denies them the opportunity of beniffiting from uncertainity and conflcit. They must be confronted.. Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Mar 10, 2016 - 3:55AM

    I was surprised to see the comments which focused mainly against Iran I do not know what the focal person do. Saudi Arabia, a recognized terrorist state is supporting terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Saudis were hand in hand with Sadam Hussain in Iran Iraq war. Not a word was said by Pakistan whereas Iran gave full support to Pakistan in 1965 & 71 wars so much so that Pakistani air crafts were stationed in Zahidan. To blame Iran supporting Yemen is baseless since Yemen is encircled by Saudi, Israel and US ships not even humanitarian reaches Yemen 13 months of bombardment did not deter Yemenis and is a shame for Saudi Monarchy. Saudi King is afraid of Hizb Ullah of Lebanon and a powerful IranRecommend

  • NHA
    Mar 10, 2016 - 8:29AM

    @syed & syed:

    This precisely is the reason for Pakistan having offered to go between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is conscious of the dangers of conflict in its vicinity. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are important members of Global Muslim Community.

    Pakistan should continue to push for negotiations for resolution of issues and conflicts. This I understand is policy and effort of Pak leadership. Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Mar 11, 2016 - 2:14AM

    @NHA:Who would like to talk to open terrorism committed by Saudi Arabia. Iran is powerful enough to close exit entry points in Persian gulf. Iran is not Yemen. King Salman and his supporters realize the reality Recommend

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