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

Updated January 05, 2016

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.