Ex-FM: Pakistan should take no sides in Iran-Saudi tensions, but mediate

Islamabad, Jan 6, IRNA – Pakistan former foreign minister urged Islamabad government to play the role of bridge builder in defusing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia without taking either side.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir visits Pakistan on Thursday, January 7.

In an interview with IRNA, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, currently a Parliament member, said that the parliament wants Pakistan government to exercise restraint and not take sides in Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions as Pakistan has warm and friendly relations with both.

Former foreign minister said that if the two Muslim countries are willing, the Pakistan can use its high capacities to play the role of mediator to de-escalate the issue.

He went on to say that parliament wants the government to play a constructive role on reducing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“We have raised this issue in the parliament because we are concerned about the escalating tensions between two friendly countries of Pakistan,” said the lawmaker.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi added that Pakistan enjoys long standing and deep relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia. “Iran shares border with Pakistan and we have had a long history of regional and economic cooperation” he added.

The politician expressing his views said any tension or severing of diplomatic ties between two Pakistan’s friendly countries is a matter of concern to Pakistan because this tension could affect the region and obviously Pakistan as well.

Also Rana Muhammad Afzal, Member of National Assembly and a member of Pakistan ruling party Muslim League-Nawaz, talking to IRNA said that if Iran and Saudi Arabia agree, Pakistan can play a role mediator to defuse tensions between both the countries.

He said that Pakistan’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz has offered an in-camera briefing to the parliament on Iran-Saudi tensions and soon this session will take place.

“We are very concerned about increasing tensions between two Islamic countries,” he said. He added that at the moment Pakistan can advise both the countries to exercise restraint.

Earlier Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui has said that Pakistan is trying to defuse tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his return from Sri Lanka will take steps to end the crisis, while the Foreign Office has already started efforts to defuse tension between the two Islamic countries.