ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would always support Saudi Arabia because the kingdom has lent Islamabad support in every difficult situation, Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said on Saturday.
Addressing a ceremony to distribute aid among the deserving people of Azad Kashmir, organised by the International Islamic Relief Organisation, the minister said Saudi Arabia is a friend and it has always given importance to Pakistan.
“We are proud of our friendship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia helped us on every occasion,” he told the ceremony, also attended by the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Al-Maliki.
The minister said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had also supported Pakistan in the time of need. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia launched a relief operation for the cold-affected people in northern regions.
The minister statement came at a time when the situation in the Middle East has become volatile due to the killing of Iranian military commander Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.
Pakistan has expressed “deep concern with the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region”.
“Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, which should be adhered to,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“It is also important to avoid unilateral actions and use of force. All parties are urged to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with UN Charter and international law.”
Meanwhile another federal minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, expressed worries over the escalation in tensions in the Gulf region, which “will surely have serious implications” for Pakistan.
Sarwar, the aviation minister, expressed concern over the regional tensions after the killing of Gen Soleimani and advised both the countries to exercise restraint. He condemned the killing in Baghdad, which he said, made the regional situation very dangerous.
“There are some rules in the world. Protecting high-value personalities is also one of these rules,” Sarwar told reporters at the PTI Rawalpindi Secretariat.