Pakistan, Iran work to heal Saudi alliance rift

Published: April 20, 2017
Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost called on the army chief. PHOTO: APP

Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost called on the army chief. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Iran’s Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost on Wednesday met army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for the second time in over a month in an apparent effort by the two sides to iron out differences on Pakistan’s move to allow the former army chief to head the Saudi-led counter-terrorism alliance.

Although, a handout issued by the military’s media wing did not explicitly mention the controversy surrounding the Islamic Military Alliance against Terrorism, officials familiar with the GHQ meeting confirmed that the issue was the main agenda item.

“Evolving regional security matrix and other issues of mutual interest were discussed, including measures against common threat of terrorism,” said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement.

It quoted the army chief as telling the Iranian envoy that “Pakistan greatly values historic Pak-Iran relationship and the same shall continue based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s interests.”

Govt to allow Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi-led alliance

This was the second visit of Iran’s Ambassador to the GHQ. He previously met the army chief on March 4 just days before the government confirmed that former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif would soon join the Saudi-led alliance as its head.

Iran has expressed concerns over the development raising fears that this may strain ties with Pakistan.

The 41-national alliance was announced in 2015 by Saudi Arabia with an apparent aim to fight growing threat of terrorism. Countries such as Iran, Iraq and Syria are not part of the grouping; something that critics believe can deepen sectarian divisions in the Muslim world.

Pakistan has all along insisted that its participation in the alliance is not against any country including Iran.

PTI submits resolution against Saudi alliance in NA

Gen Raheel is also in favour of inclusion of Iran into the fold in order to dispel the alliance’s sectarian outlook.

The terms of reference of the alliance that some dubbed “Muslim NATO” have not yet been finalized. The defence ministers of the participating countries are expected to meet soon in Riyadh to approve the alliance’s mandate and its scope.


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Reader Comments (6)

  • BrainBro
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:18AM

    Pakistan also says that it is not harboring any afghan taliban or anti-india proxies; but, does the rest of the world believe that?Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:05PM

    Dont trust the mullahs in Iran, or mullahs anywhere for that matter.

    They are India’s strategic ally.

    This Iranian ambassador should be allaying our concerns about Indian backed terror, why Iran has kept silent in the face of horrific violence by Indian forces in Kashmir, why they are taking Pakistanis to fight their sectarian war in Syria.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Apr 20, 2017 - 4:39PM

    My question is then why is Iran making chahbahear?Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali
    Apr 20, 2017 - 6:40PM

    Who cares what the world believe? We know the truth! India is killing innocents in Kashmir and instigating and supporting terrorists in Balochistan… did anyone come to help or did something???Recommend

  • Shah
    Apr 20, 2017 - 6:54PM

    Dont trust these Iranians; They are also like them Hindus-tanis and Afghans; Money is God for them like Lakshmi for Hindus; They think they are born better than others; That is why the world, not only the region, but the whole world dont like them; Recommend

  • Atsul
    Apr 21, 2017 - 2:05AM

    Pakistan should only care and accommodate sincere friends (Iran so far is not among them) and not the ones who are stabbing it in its back by creating “Strategic Partnerships” with it’s openly worst enemy trying to corner Pakistan in globally.Recommend

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