Censured minister says statement regarding Saudi Arabia was 'twisted'

Published January 21, 2015
Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada. — Photo courtesy: unesco.org.pk
Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada. — Photo courtesy: unesco.org.pk

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Wednesday said the media 'twisted' his words regarding Saudi Arabia's role in destabilising the Muslim world.

While sources in the PM House say the Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Pirzada in a letter has said he "did not say a word" regarding Saudi Arabia causing disturbance in the Muslim world or Pakistan, sources close to Pirzada say he is standing by his statement.

On behalf on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Information Minister Pervez Rashid held a meeting with federal Pirzada and conveyed the concerns of the prime minister over this statement.

Pirzada sought time after the meeting with Rashid and later sent a written reply to the prime minister saying his statement was "twisted".

He also said his intention was not to embarrass the prime minister and that if the premier wants his resignation he is "ready to do so".

Pirzada on Tuesday accused the Saudi government of creating instability across the Muslim world, including Pakistan, through distribution of money for promoting its ideology.

Read: Federal minister accuses Saudi govt of destabilising Muslim world

Addressing a two-day 'Ideas Conclave' organised by the "Jinnah Institute" think tank in Islamabad, the federal minister had said 'the time has come to stop the influx of Saudi money into Pakistan'.

A press statement released after the event shows Pirzada's statement
A press statement released after the event shows Pirzada's statement

He also blasted his own government for approving military courts in the presence of an 'independent and vibrant judiciary' and said that military courts reflect 'weak and coward leadership'.

"Such cowardly leadership has no right to stay in power," Mr Pirzada added.

Also read: Pirzada causes uproar

He called upon the great powers — naming the US and Saudi Arabia specifically — to allow countries of the world to live in peace and said they should not fund terrorists or arm them. “Every country should be left to their devices and they should be run according to the wishes of the people and the civil society of those countries,” he told reporters after his speech at the conclave.

Mr Pizada also appeared quite angry about the 21st Amendment and said that the formation of military courts seemed like the act of a characterless and cowardly leadership. He also announced his imminent retirement from public life during the speech.

The minister, who joined the PML-N a short while before the elections, was sworn in as a member of the cabinet on June 27, 2013. The MNA from Bahawalpur has suffered personally at the hands of religious extremists; his father was murdered in his own home by men purportedly linked with the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba.

Even on Tuesday, as he spoke to media persons following his speech, he appeared visibly emotional about it. When asked by a reporter to repeat his remarks regarding the Saudi influence in Pakistan, he got riled up and said, “You know very well where the funding comes from. Why do you need me to say it?” However, he immediately added, “Of course I’ll say it. I’ve lost my father already, why wouldn’t I say it now.”

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