LAHORE: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan will play the role of a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran at an “appropriate time”.

Speaking to media during a function at the National College of Arts, he said relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran were tense and diplomacy demanded a balanced approach.

“When the right time comes, which may be in a week, a month or later, Pakistan will play a positive role.”

He said at the moment Pakistan was more interested in safeguarding its own interests with focus on security.

“We don’t want that some sectarian friction erupts, therefore, whatever will be said or done needs great care,” he said. “We don’t want that terrorist elements take any advantage of the Iran-Saudi Arabia tension.”

Asked about the Pathankot incident, Mr Aziz said Pakistan was investigating it.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, who was present at the media talk, said the Sindh chief minister had met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and the premier had asked Chaudhry Nisar to address the issues of the Sindh government.

Asked about KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak’s concern at optic fibre issue, he said in a lighter vein that Khattak did not have technical understanding of these things. “When I will meet Khattak, he will understand it.”

The information minister earlier praised the National College of Arts which, he said, had its identity all over the world.

Sartaj Aziz, who is chairperson of the NCA’s Board of Governors, said he held the works of the artists in high esteem. He said young artists had immense talent and NCA Principal Murtaza Jaffri had told him that 90pc of their students got jobs after passing out within just six months.

The graduates exhibited their works at the Degree Show.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2016

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