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Grave dangers face Muslim world in light of Saudi-Iran standoff: Sartaj

Updated Jan 05, 2016 04:05pm


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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is concerned over recent tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran that spiralled after the execution of Shia scholar Sheikh Nimr al Nimr, the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said in a policy statement he read before the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The Muslim World faces grave dangers in the situation that has risen in wake of the Saudi-Iran conflict, Aziz said.

He expressed concern that terrorists can use the diplomatic crisis in Middle East to their advantage.

The statement follows criticism from opposition parties which lashed out at the government in the National Assembly for not coming up with a clear stance on the situation arising out in the region because of the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran and called for a parliamentary briefing on the issue.

In his statement, Aziz maintained that Pakistan will continue to play its role to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and it advocates unity among the Muslim countries.

Examine: Pakistan calls for peaceful resolution to S. Arabia, Iran tensions

Aziz said the National Assembly would be given an in-camera briefing on the Saudi-Iran tensions.

National interest will be given priority in context of the diplomatic row in Middle East, he said.

Pakistan disapproved on Monday a mob attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, which sparked a diplomatic crisis between Iran and Arab countries, Dawn newspaper reported.

Saudi Arabia rallied regional allies to its side in a growing diplomatic row with Iran on Monday, deepening a split across the Middle East following the execution of Sheikh Nimr al Nimr in Riyadh.

Bahrain and Sudan cut all ties with Iran, following Riyadh’s example.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said his country would also halt air traffic and commercial relations with Iran.

In response to rumors that Pakistan was also exploring options about downgrading its diplomatic relationship with Iran, Foreign Officer spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said, "I will not comment on rumours and speculations.”

There have been protests in Pakistan against the execution of the Shia cleric. But the FO has avoided commenting on the development that led to escalation of tensions between the two rivals.

Pakistan is a ally of Saudi Arabia and the countries share close economic and defence ties.

A scheduled Jan 18 trip by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif to Tehran, according to a diplomatic source, has become uncertain following the tiff between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


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Comments (72) Closed

Rome cruiser Jan 05, 2016 02:29pm

The man is right. The gulf states are being irrational and showing childish diplomatic skills. Iran too made some provocative statements. All grow up please.

sbk Jan 05, 2016 02:30pm

Balance the country's relationship with Both Iran and Saudi, because both are important. If we criticize only Iran and keep silent on Saudi, it will annoy Iran.

Alien Jan 05, 2016 02:41pm

Pakistan can not stay out of it............. so do not ignore on this level ....... do something to protect these two as well as yourself........... Mediation is good solution between them .............

Mohidin Jan 05, 2016 02:43pm

Only if muslim countries/Ummah act irrationally . People need to understand this to be purely a power struggle for being the dominant force, at least in the region, for their own credibility and perhaps survival Otherwise it has very little to do with Ummah or any sect or holy cities. All must work towards a peaceful resolution than taking a partisan position however tempting the offer.This is particularly important for Pakistan.

M.Saeed Jan 05, 2016 02:43pm

Saudis must realize that, a drug-smuggler and a religious scholar are not equal in crime. If some one is not correct religiously, he should be corrected by engaging in knowledge. Killing for religious misconceptions is not Islamic way.

k k tiwari Jan 05, 2016 02:44pm

Iran has taken action against those who ransacked Saudi's embassy but Saudi Arabia took harsh action in severing ties as if waiting & creating divisions in muslim world & Shia-Sunny

Hass Jan 05, 2016 03:15pm

Who said Saudis and Iranians care about Muslims all they care about is influence.

GS Jan 05, 2016 03:20pm

Good for the rest of the world !

My Analysis Jan 05, 2016 03:29pm

Arrogance of Saud Monarch and the opportunist approach of Iran is making the Islamic world a "Bell placed at a round about in a busy market" approachable to everyone to ring it any time with out any reason and with as much intensity as desired. The self claimed coalition force made by KSA was totally ineffective earlier but seems now it has a very strong lead to the execution of Sheikh Al Nimr. Now the same coalition would be responsible of defending KSA who invited Iranian/ Shia led aggression in response of this incident and all the focus of Iran fighting ISIS from the front will now be shifted to this issue when the coalition forces and non allies will be engaged with each other Sparing ISIS to do whatever they are busy doing. What a move by a think tank of whoever planned it !!

cool Jan 05, 2016 03:38pm

Pakistan is weak and sandwiched between two countries. Its much depends om Saudi as getting money from them and at the same time can't make Iran angry as its neighbour.

dsdsd Jan 05, 2016 03:39pm

The adviser Mr. Aziz is wrong. There is no such thing as the Muslim World, Hindu World, Christian Word, etc. What is happening in the ME is a human and international tragedy. The Muslims alone are in no position to solve this problem.

Realist Jan 05, 2016 03:39pm

@sbk How is Iran important? How many Pakistanis work in Iran? How much foreign assistance does Iran provide? Iranian border guards also occasionally cross the border to enter Baluchistan.

Abdulla Hussain Jan 05, 2016 03:45pm

Muslim world don't need external aggression they are self sufficient within themselves. Pakistan should play a very sincere moderator's role to defuse the current waves of tension between Saudi Arabia & Iran.

Khwarezmi Jan 05, 2016 03:45pm

These grave dangers are only add ons to the already dangers faced by the Muslim World from American invasions, wars and bombings, Israeli occupation of Muslim holy lands and their intelligence, as well as stronger countries occupying weaker Muslim states such as Kashmir, Chechnia, Dagestan, Bashkorostan, tatarstan, Kazan, South Thailand, South Phillippines and so on. We shouls also not forget the partition of states such as Sudan, once Africa's largest stae, into two religious dominations.

Then it is theinside dangers such as Daish, TTP and Khwarij groups and dictatorial rulers who have limited the freedom of Muslim masses.

Muhammad Jan 05, 2016 03:54pm

Pakistan should take a lead and bring these two countries on table so that all issues be resolved through table talk rather escalating the tension

SUNIL Jan 05, 2016 03:55pm

Many economies should be worried - what will happen to the oil price

Ali Raza Jan 05, 2016 04:01pm

Muslim world should bite the bullet, and face the truth.Sweeping things under the carpets will not solve the problem.

The division between the two sects is a fact written on the walls, and the political ambition of Saudi Arabia, and Iran makes them deadlier.

Please don't tell me that these divisions are created by the non-Muslims.

ENGR. KHAN Jan 05, 2016 04:03pm

Iran has to render apology for attacking Saudi Embassy and interference in other countries, else would be isolated

ss Jan 05, 2016 04:05pm

Pakistan must act purely in its own national interest. There is no point taking sides in a religious conflict which is unfolding.

faryal Jan 05, 2016 04:07pm

pakistan should give right side both are muslim countries

Mehtab Jan 05, 2016 04:20pm

Shiekh Nimr execution was politically motivated and aim was to widening gap the sectarian faultlines.

My Analysis Jan 05, 2016 04:20pm

@ENGR. KHAN : Are you the spokesperson of Saudia Hope not but your remarks must not be that much inclined towards KSA. Be sensible and try to be one who put water on the fire not Patrol.

M. Asghar Jan 05, 2016 04:21pm

Pakistan has to act decisively for mediation between SA and its neighbour Iran without taking any side knowing well that SA is the source of this crisis.

yawar Jan 05, 2016 04:29pm

arabs and persians both hungry for power don't realize that unity among them (along with their followers) can make the third world power

Arif Jan 05, 2016 04:30pm

Agree with ENG.KHAN

Kala Ingrez - کالا انگریز - काला अंग्रेज - কালো ইংরাজি Jan 05, 2016 04:35pm

@sbk - It is not very hard to decide who should we support and its not Iran for sure. A friendly Iran of the time when Shah ruled is just a distant dream now, and we do not get any special favors from Iran except for bad smuggled oil and other goods affecting the health of the country and the Treasury. Pakistan has to maintain her balance book and if Iran wants Pakistan then Iran can commit herself to Pakistan for the next 50 years and provide the millions, who may be forced to return form Arab countries, employments in Iran without sectarian prejudice – but that is impossible because Iran of extremists is more prejudice than the Arabs. We should continue our strong relationship and ties with the Middle East but watch our borders with Iran very closely.

Nutts Jan 05, 2016 04:38pm

Those Muslims who didn't have any role in escalating the spat between Iran and Saudi Arabia should stay away from this mess, only the two key players can sort out the angst mood. This is not something new which we have seen for the first time, the entire ME is in the grips of Iran-Saudi proxy wars.

Antony Ooty Jan 05, 2016 04:52pm

@dsdsd Spot On

sbk Jan 05, 2016 04:54pm

@Khwarezmi , You have forgotten to mention Kurds. Kurds are Sunni Muslims, who do not have a country of their own. They are very brave, but suppressed people and spread across Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq etc.

i2i Jan 05, 2016 05:03pm

Its a conflict between Ayotullahs and Saudi Royals. Common Muslim has nothing to do with this madness. Regime change and democratically elected representative governments in both Iran and Saudia is the only way forward for peace in the region or else these Ayotullahs and Sadui Royals out of their shortsightedness, utter arrogance and self assertion will destroy their people.

Shehzad Zafar Jan 05, 2016 05:11pm

@sbk Why both are important. Iran has never given any thing to Pakistan. We should favour those who favour us.

Mark Jan 05, 2016 05:13pm

@Realist You are absolutely right.
Moreover, Iran has been more friendlier with India than Pakistan allowing India to construct and operate the Chabahar port linking Indian transit trade to Afghanistan for the the purpose of destabilizing and creating terrorism in Pakistani (Baluchistan and Karachi) with the help of Afghanistan's puppet government. So how Iran can be termed as Pakistanis good neighbor and a friend.

sbk Jan 05, 2016 05:16pm

@Realist , Iran is important because it shares a very long border with Pakistan, and if you spoil your relationship with them, they can become a very big headache.

Haroon Jan 05, 2016 05:18pm

highlights the polarisation danger and risk of sectarian strife in pakistan due to involvement in saudi led armed force group. indonesia was smart to stay out of it even though they don't have the sectarian tension as much there is in pakistan.

Kabeer Jan 05, 2016 05:18pm

@Realist Very shortsighted view ! Iran is our neighbor, Iran was the first country who had recognized the independent Pakistan in UN, Iran is self reliant country, whereas Saudi Arab is totally dependent on US and Israel for their survival, Saudi Arab is the country who is spreading extremism in the world including our beloved country and hence is the reason of killing of many innocent people and loss of millions of dollar

Kabeer Jan 05, 2016 05:26pm

Pakistan should stand with Iran as because Saudi Monarchs have very precarious future mostly due to their infighting the princes are fighting for more power anyhow despotic kings have no role in coming days therefore Pakistan should move wisely and look for future government in Saudi Arab

Saeed Masood Jan 05, 2016 05:27pm

Pakistan should step up its efforts to cool this situation between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Abbas naqvi Jan 05, 2016 05:30pm

Pakistan needs to employ the best tool of its diplomacy to diffuse Saudi-Iran tension. The government's position on the issue should be balanced and ensure that our friendly and brotherly relations with the two major regional players remain intact.

Abu Mohammed Jan 05, 2016 05:42pm

Dramatic change is going to happen in Kingdom, there is huge opposition going on within family of Saud against king Salman and His son. All other Bahrain and Sudan will change their position within a day, UAE is also reluctant to cut its ties fully with Iran. Oman and Kuwaiti governments are not supporting it.

Syed Zafar Kazmi U. S. A Jan 05, 2016 05:49pm

@ENGR. KHAN It was not Iranian government that had attacked the Saudi embassy. It was non state actors, the people, who attacked and almost 40 or more of them had been arrested and the president of Iran had condemned the attack. Iranian government owes no apology for that as protest against the embassies is the most common form of protest in most of the third world countries.

Canada Jan 05, 2016 06:18pm

Cutting or downgrading ties with Iran is not the mature or diplomatic way of resolving the crisis. It is not in PK interest it is only in PMLs interest to listen to its masters. PK should play a mature and responsible role as mediator but thats it. PK or PML rather has to learn to stop taking sides after which the population suffers for 30 years the consequences. Remember that PK also has a sizeable Shia community, can it really afford to start taking sides? Middle East is a never ending hell hole, no need to get involved. India learned this a long time ago. Its strictly business for them

Ghaznavi Jan 05, 2016 06:27pm

The best option is at least look like we are concerned. lip service wil not cut it. Pak must call OIC summit.

Realist Jan 05, 2016 06:46pm

@Kabeer Same can be said about Iran. Iran is as much a close strategic and trade ally of Russia as KSA is that of USA. One is dependent on US hardware and assistance. Other is dependent on Russian hardware and assistance. What is the difference between the two? What makes Russia better than USA? Iran is as much responsible for spreading extremism as KSA. Stop spreading this one sided propaganda. And the Iran that recognized Pakistan in UN and helped it in 1965 war is long gone. That was a secular Shah's Iran. This is a different Iran.

Vijay Jan 05, 2016 06:55pm

@Alien What exactly is something that should be done?

Engr. Afzal Jan 05, 2016 06:55pm

@Syed Zafar Kazmi U. S. A : Are you Iran government spokes person

Fahim Khan Jan 05, 2016 07:05pm

How is it started....why was it necessary to assassinate an important personality NOW while you are in deep trouble in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine?

Ahmed Haneef Jan 05, 2016 07:16pm

@Engr. Afzal ... It is all over an official Iranian statement. Iran and Iranian media are the only country speak first about Palestinian issues. It is really very shameful to say Iran has secterian and non arab policy. .. Palestinian are Arab and Sunni but number one supporter is Iran for Palestinian cause. By the way I am Sunni Muslim.

gerry dcunha Jan 05, 2016 07:26pm

The Muslim world lacks in unity and are more greed in wealth and power - the recent crisis of refugees from Syria is the best example of the Muslim countries unity

Unity is strength Jan 05, 2016 07:30pm

Now it's time for Pakistan to stand with the 34 Islamic collation to become a powerful country to stay away will cost too much to Pakistan because tomorrow in any confrontation with our neighbor the Islamic collation force will not be help us we have a great chance to stand stronger against our proxy enemy rather than a weaker as they destructed Syria tomorrow they will be destruct us in the same way because they will be the stronger one and we will be the weaker one as the old saying unity is strength

Kashif Jan 05, 2016 07:34pm

Iran is not a friend of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is. Thats a fact. Iran has fomented sectarian conflict in all the countries surrounding Saudi Arabia including Pakistan, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Syria...yet not sneeze goes off in Iran. Iran is closely allied with India and does not view Pakistan as a friend.

Do not exinguish petrol fire with water Jan 05, 2016 07:56pm

@Kashif : Fully agree with you, in addition in last few months, many rocket attacks by Iran on Pakistan territory. Shown aggression at internal affairs of Saudi Arabia.

Muhammad Jan 05, 2016 07:59pm

Mr. Sartaj Aziz please first of all ask Saudi Government to return the dead bodies of Pakistanis who died in Minna incident during Hajj

Socrates of Gilgit-baltistan Jan 05, 2016 08:02pm

Thank you Mr. Advisor for speaking the truth because speaking truth even it is again us is what known as the begining of thinking in a clear manner and an indication of a blessed pure intention. It is still the habit of the sages to extrect honey out of poision and the enormity of the current standoff between two block that have accustomed themselves to think differently warrants extraordinary efforts to make them sit on a single table in order to sought a peaceful diplomatic and durable wayout. Government of Pakistan can play a very constructive role by draging more important personalities acceptable to the both parties for carrying out the reconciliation process to new depths. In this connection the help and assistance of Shah Karim Al-Hussaini commonly known as Aga Khan IV in the west can be sought because he has a remarkable clout in the middle eastern monorachies and certainly the leaders of both conflicting parties would listen to him.

N_Saq Jan 05, 2016 08:07pm

Pakistan should push for dialogue as solution to a problem can only be found with talks and more talks and no knows it more than Iran as it just went through years of talks with the West to come up with a nuclear deal.

Although Pakistan should make it very clear who it will stand with in case of hostilities brake out so that one of them must understand that it has to deal with a nuclear power state in case of war, however, at the same time privately it should push the other to make peace and discourage it to go to war just because it has Pak's backing. Pak should make it very clear in private discussion to the country she decide to stand with that war is not an option and under no circumstances Pak will commit to it.

This will discourage both countries to escalate the situation and in the end cool heads should/will prevail.

Zak Jan 05, 2016 08:49pm

Pakistan has to have a foreign minister. And Pakistan a regional power must step up to the task and be the central role in diffusing tensions between Tehran and Riyadh. Reflect Pakistan's true status not a clueless unintelligent political leadership.

Zak Jan 05, 2016 08:50pm

@SUNIL oil already down $42 pb

watson Jan 05, 2016 08:52pm

It will be disastrous for Pakistan to take sides.

saz Jan 05, 2016 10:36pm

Why Pakistan did not condemn killing of innocent persons including Shaikh Nimr. Condemning embassy attack attack and remaining silent over brutal assassination in neither justice nor will do mediation. It seems Pakistan's Govt has taken side and that will harm Pakistan.

malick Jan 05, 2016 11:27pm

Leave them alone. let them taste the war fruit. Pakistan please keep away, if all others keep away they will never fight war. Let them fight and request for help. Let them kill each other. These two stupid countries are the cause of Pakistan and Afghanistan situation.

NHA Jan 05, 2016 11:31pm

By now Pak should have learnt the craft of diplomacy and gathered confidence to stand the ground. Need not to deeply involved at this stage. Watch abs see how things develop. My reckoning is , the dispute is superficial.


abdul rafay Jan 05, 2016 11:32pm

Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan as an independent state, and Shah of Iran was the first Head of State to come on a state visit to Pakistan in March 1950. So it is necessary for Pakistan to play a role of inducing peace between two without inclining more on one side just because of vested materialistic interest.

Mehtab Jan 05, 2016 11:37pm

Excecution of revered scholar hurts Muslims all around the world. Amnesty International questioned the legal proceedings carried out. Sheikh Nimr execution isn't Saudi internal issue anymore, its blatant injustice against a personality who only demanded equal treatment in the Kingdom.

Ash20 Jan 06, 2016 12:46am

Pakistan cannot be a mediator as requested by many here as Pakistan is firmly in Saudi camp. Honest broker can be China or India but more then likely they do not want this thankless job.

Changez_Khan Jan 06, 2016 02:13am

Oh No ... So we are doomed?

Kolsat Jan 06, 2016 03:21am

This enmity between Shias and Sunni has gone on far too long and and must be stipped because it has resulted in deaths of tens of millions of Muslims.

Guest101 Jan 06, 2016 03:46am

Pakistan should side with UAE and KSA coalition.

Cyrus Jan 06, 2016 05:38am

The Muslim world has faced grave dangers for the last 30 years. Where has Sartaj Aziz been living?

Sachin Jan 06, 2016 06:06am

India and Iran share very good and friendly relations.

Pakistan Jan 06, 2016 06:33am

pakistan should side with saudi arabia as it has been our ally unlike iran.

A. Mangal Jan 06, 2016 08:05am

Mr Sartaj, Pakistan and Turkey should take lead role in diffusing current crisis by having a shuttle diplomacy. Mere commentary is not going to help resolve the diplomatic crisis.

Iftikhar Husain Jan 06, 2016 05:51pm

What Pakistan should do must be dicussed in parliament. SA will expect support from Pakistan will it be possible realising that Iran is also a neighbour.

Be Honest Jan 07, 2016 09:43pm

Instead of supporting KSA, at least we should have to remain silent in this regard..