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Threat to S. Arabia will evoke strong response, says army

Updated Jan 11, 2016 10:38am


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Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister Muhammad Bin Salman along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM House.─ Photo: PM House
Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister Muhammad Bin Salman along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM House.─ Photo: PM House
It was agreed that the two countries would cooperate in developing an effective counter narrative to defeat the extremist mindset. ─Photo: PID
It was agreed that the two countries would cooperate in developing an effective counter narrative to defeat the extremist mindset. ─Photo: PID

ISLAMABAD: While Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif assured visiting Saudi Defence Minister Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday of “strong response” to threats to his country’s territorial integrity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for resolving its crisis with Iran through diplomacy and offered Pakistan’s good offices in this regard.

“Pakistan has historically pursued the policy of promoting brotherhood among member states of the OIC. Pakistan has also always expressed its readiness to offer its good offices to brotherly Muslim countries for resolution of their differences,” the prime minister was quoted by his office as having told the Saudi deputy crown prince.

Prince Mohammad met the army chief and the prime minister during his seven-hour stay here. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif received him at the airport, but curiously there was no counterpart meeting.

Saudi defence minister was received by Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Defence Minster Khawaja Asif.─ Photo: PID Saudi defence minister was received by Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Defence Minster Khawaja Asif.─ Photo: PID

The Saudi prince, whose visit came close on the heels of one by Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, was reportedly here to find out how Pakistan could militarily assist his country.

The prime minister recalled the “historical, cultural, and religious” ties and reiterated the established commitment of standing with the “people of Saudi Arabia” in case of any threat to its territorial integrity, while also stressing the need for peacefully resolving the conflict.

PM offers Saudi prince help to diplomatically resolve crisis with Iran

In his meeting with the Saudi minister at the General Headquarters, the army chief delivered a stronger message — probably offering the visiting leader the sound bite that he came looking for.

Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister met COAS General Raheel Sharif, COAS at General Headquarters.─ Photo: ISPR Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister met COAS General Raheel Sharif, COAS at General Headquarters.─ Photo: ISPR

Gen Sharif, according to ISPR, “re-asserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan”.

Negotiations between GHQ and Saudi officials on defence cooperation preceded Prince Mohammad’s visit. The discussions are being kept highly secret.

Although it is publicly unknown what the military has committed to the Saudis, Gen Sharif found it enough to say that the defence relationship with the country was held “in highest esteem”.

Amid speculations on the matter, a government source was reported as saying that the military had committed deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia.

However, the claim could not be verified and military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa was unavailable for comments because he is out of the country.

Defence Minister Mohammad told Gen Sharif that his country would extend “full support to Pakistan’s position on all matters”.

The execution this month of Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al Nimr and the subsequent reaction from Iran, including storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, sparked the crisis in the already tense relationship between the two countries. Saudi Arabia responded by cutting off its diplomatic relations with Iran and many of its Arab allies followed suit.

Foreign Minister Jubeir said after a special session of the Gulf Cooperation Council a day earlier that Saudi Arabia was mulling additional steps against Iran, but Defence Minister Mohammad hinted in a media interview that confrontation would not be allowed to escalate into an all-out war.

Besides discussing the tensions with Iran, the Saudi prince was also here to promote a counter-terrorism coalition, which is said to be his brainchild.

Video posted by PML-N official Facebook page

Prime Minister Sharif welcomed the initiative and reaffirmed support for the coalition of ‘like-minded Islamic countries’.

“Pakistan supports efforts to counter terrorism and extremism,” he said in his meeting with the visiting minister.

“The two leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and deepen the cooperation in all fields, including defence, security, fight against terrorism, trade and investment and meeting manpower requirements of the kingdom,” the official statement said.

It was also agreed that the two countries would cooperate in developing an effective counter-narrative to defeat the extremist mindset.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2016


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Comments (56) Closed

Canada Jan 11, 2016 07:55am

The Saudis have the Americans stationed all over the seas with marines and navy on standby, what would they ever need from PK? The only thing US will not provide Saudis are soldiers or nukes. You make the conclusion.

Ahmed USA Jan 11, 2016 07:58am

Pakistan's role at this juncture should be to bring KSA and Iran closer... Political reservations should not be given a sectarian color by either side... Similarly, KSA and Iran should always support Pakistan's stand on Kashmir issue and other political issues... Examine the avenues through which each country can benefit the other such as trade, defence, health etc… Iran can invite KSA and Pakistan to invest in the Chabahar Port development, similarly KSA and Pakistan can seek Iran’s expertise in the development of regional trade and petrochemical industries…

Faheem Mohamedi Jan 11, 2016 08:01am

Pakistan should stay neutral. We should not take sides with SA or Iran.
SA is acting like a kid. They treat Pakistani like dirt and then come to us for help. They can keep their money and oil. Pakistan lives are more important then their oil. No SA will come to our defense.

Imran Jan 11, 2016 08:18am

Good going !! I see some opening for India vis-a-vis Pak-Iran relation and potential to fish around.

Abu Mohammed Jan 11, 2016 08:19am

COAS please ask him to improve their treatment and attitude with Pakistanis working in Kingdom.

Amarnath Jan 11, 2016 08:46am

Anothr 5 years of oil under $40 a barrel, Saudi Arabia will go bust and Pakistan will be free of Saudi clutches. No more entertaining of the princes and their whims. lets wait with fingers crossed... hail innovation

American_Desi Jan 11, 2016 08:57am

Despite all this No Pakistani could marry an Arab, would never get PR, will need sponsorship to work or live there and could be kicked out in seconds at will. Petrol is selling at under 2 dollars a gallon in the USA and per a CNN report, Saudi Arabia will run out of cash in 5 years because they make loss on every barrel of oil they produce. This ship is sinking, and conflicts will only expedite the journey to the bottom!

Joe Jan 11, 2016 08:58am

I am not sure what is this visit all about.let us take the worst scenario,Iran verses SA Can Pakistan ever get herself involved physically. Answer is big NO...Remember Iran is physical neighbor.

Sami Qureshi Jan 11, 2016 08:59am

A provocative shift of national policy from democratic values to the despotic one that may also be disastrous to the very existence of Pakistan in a very little span of time. Pakistan has once again entered in agreement to nurture the IS on its soil like she once supported and trained Al-Qaida and Taliban.

Mirza Jahanzadeh Jan 11, 2016 09:17am

As Iranians, we appreciate that Pakistan has its own hands full in dealing with its own militancy problems hence its reluctance in the matter, especially given its long border with Iran in Baluchistan.

shehzad younus Jan 11, 2016 09:25am

pakistan should stay neutral in this issue n will be more better if plays the role of a mediator or good will show mature approach from our side as well as will prove beneficial for our foreign policy n nascent democracy.

Jaan Bhittani Jan 11, 2016 09:34am

Pakistan should work with both KSA & Iran to solve the issue politically.

Abbas Naqvi Jan 11, 2016 09:38am

Coming on the heels of Saudi foreign ministers visit, the arrival of defense minister of KSA in Islamabad and his meetings with Pakistan civil and military leadership is indicative of Ryadhs desperate effort to drag us into the Saudi Iran conflict. Rather than submitting to Saudi demands, we should place our national interests above anything else. Siding with Saudia can bring a backlash at home given strong opposition shown by political parties and public opinion. Using the fine tools of its diplomacy, Islamabad should try to act as a mediator in the ongoing Saudi Iran diplomatic row and the Middle East quagmire.

Bin Adam Jan 11, 2016 09:40am

We hope and pray that Iran and Saudi leaderships understand the catastrophic repercussions of the escalation of hostility. This will not only cause great peril to Shias and Sunnis but also to the peace loving Christians, Jews and people of many other religions and sects who been living in the region as loyal and peaceful citizens since their ancestors. All of them are equally anguished.

Furqan Jan 11, 2016 09:41am

Dont take side General. Please dont open another front with in Pakistan. You have been doing great uptil now. Dont ruin it by taking sides now.

Play a role of facilitator for both Iran and SA. Both should be kept at equal standing.

Nasrullah Khan -USA Jan 11, 2016 09:45am

Excellent opportunity to ask for details of all those speedy beheading of Pakistani Citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We need the investigation reports for all the stampedes and also the poor handling for all those who come to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Also, it is an excellent time to ask these minister to share the road-map for their first free elections. Custodian of holy mosques need to wake-up and stop bombing the civilians and stop bullying their less fortunate neighbors. Would someone ask these Ministers that when are they going to fund a real World Class University instead of piece-mealing the money to fund religious madrasas. Can someone ask, I would if I am sitting face to face.

Muhammad Uzair Jan 11, 2016 09:52am

Not only army, we all the Muslims will also stand with Saudi Arabia if any thing happens to them.

FKhan Jan 11, 2016 09:56am

Dear Mr Prime Minister and COAS, can we please concentrate on ourselves rather than others -- and especially if it involves the Saudis. Remember what the German deputy minister said about their financing?

They have the money. Let them handle their problem -- which is really of their own making. Why should we get involved. Can you'll please think about the people of your own country rather then rulers of other countries.

Ali Rizvi Jan 11, 2016 09:56am

Pakistan's interests should reign supreme. Saudis cant offer much to Pak right now, are cash strapped already. Oil is already cheap. Iran cant offer anything extra too.. so better stay on the sidelines.....

Manzoor Ahmed - Australia Jan 11, 2016 09:58am

Can someone tell these Ministers that they should visit Iran to make amends instead of coming to Pakistan. I do not see a list of Nobel Laureates coming out of Saudi Arabia or any ground breaking discoveries. Why should Pakistan help SA so they can abuse more people they think and call fakir. No decision to help SA be without the broad consensus of Parliament. Country's resources should not and may not be committed since few individuals from Pakistan received preferential treatment in the past. Other than defending the motherland the forces can only be used outside for peaceful purposes.

Ali Rizvi Jan 11, 2016 09:58am

@Muhammad Uzair But not against any other brother Muslim Country..

Asif Jamil Jan 11, 2016 10:10am

"It was also agreed that the two countries would cooperate in developing an effective counter-narrative to defeat the extremist mindset."

This is most important to do and we all know from where it originated.

Zain Jan 11, 2016 10:18am

Saudis have there Bank Accounts in USA & Europeans countries,They have there Palaces & Beach houses all over world accept Pakistan .But when comes matter of there security they rush toward Pakistan, Why???????????????

K Alam Jan 11, 2016 10:35am

This happens when you accept 1.5 billion dollors from Saudia. Our policy should be to stay away from regional politics of middle east and just focus on our economic interest.

Zain Jan 11, 2016 10:52am

Saudis are in great disappointment since the Nuclear Deal between Iran & America.They need little time to absorb this agony.

Jansher Singh Potohar Jan 11, 2016 11:14am

@Muhammad Uzair , good luck

Rahel Jan 11, 2016 11:17am

Dont forget. 90% population of Pakistan will support Saudia. Good for General Raheel that he made it clear to the world whose side is Pakistan on. Iran should behave and should not loose temper on other countries internal issues.

Rahel Jan 11, 2016 11:19am

@Ali Rizvi It depends if they act like brothers. Then there is no issue. But if they act like lords and interfere in other countries internal decisions, then the brother wont remain a brother any more.

Arif Ahmed Jan 11, 2016 11:31am

I think Pakistan leadership is by and large in good hands - no need to be overly concerned. The PM and defence establishment understand and seem to have taken a conscious decision to not play any role in any conflict in the Middle East. However, we must also understand, our leadership cannot right away say a big no to the Saudis, after all they have been our closest friends while Iran has been closer to Indians than us. So whatever they do, they have to do very diplomatically and that's what I observe in all the statements coming out of PM and Army Chief's offices.

Sunil Jan 11, 2016 11:55am

Is it because Pakistan is neighbor to Iran, the Saudi ministers have been visiting Pakistan?

imran Jan 11, 2016 12:01pm

One more proxy war one more trouble for Pak!

lafanga Jan 11, 2016 12:03pm

Pakistan should convey to both KSA and Iran that we prefer reconciliation and peace BUT Pakistan should also send a subtle message to Iran that if the ball drops Pakistan will support the Saudis 100%. We cannot afford anything otherwise.

Abdulla Hussain Jan 11, 2016 12:09pm

Befitting national response to any aggression threatening Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity will be quick & firm. It is better if diplomatic channel is swiftly pursued & lasting peace in the region is achieved.

Krishna Gupta Jan 11, 2016 12:31pm

Saudi Arabia and Iran should resolve all problems amicably. In today's time war should not be an option. It is very rewarding to resolve all issues diplomatically and peacefully. First step No more antiproganda, second to start positive mutual negotiation, third to prove that both parties are capable to settle all issues.

Krishna Gupta Jan 11, 2016 12:34pm

A peaceful solution on all issues is the best way to live peacefully.

Justice Jan 11, 2016 12:55pm

We can't sort our historic dispute with India yet offer to sort problems between Iran & KSA. Let's get our own house in order first before embarking on sorting others. As the saying goes ' charity begins at home'. KSA with it's weath & amaments can't even defend itself and always come to Pakistan for help. They consider lives of their own soldiers more valuable than Pakistanis. They have the money but no brains!

M. asghar Jan 11, 2016 01:04pm

Pakistan's only role has to be the mediation in the SA-Iran tussle in the context of OIC and anything else will be unhelpful to everybody's interests.

Usman Jan 11, 2016 01:11pm

The whole nation is with the COAS on this issue.

Idealist Jan 11, 2016 01:12pm

@Muhammad Uzair We should not have any loyalty towards house of Saud, Criticizing or not taking side with them is nothing to do with Islam, House of Saud is Mulukiat which Islam strongly oppose.

FYI ever heard about Battle of Mecca that took place in Mecca, in what is now known today as Saudi Arabia, following the fall of Ta'if to King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud in his campaign to conquer the Kingdom of Hejaz. King Hussien bin Ali fled from Mecca to Jeddah, The battle in Mecca resulted in Hashemite defeat to Saudis and the allied Ikhwan.

The only responsibility we have is to protect the holy site which Saudis already gave security to Non-Muslims , foreign forces , House of Saud is not Pakistan's responsibility and I don't think Iran has any plans to invade or destroy ,

BTW most of the holy sites were demolished by House of Saud after they capture Mecca and Madina in 1924 themselves and the same ideology is destroying the other holy site across middle east in the name of Bida'h.

Third Opinion Jan 11, 2016 02:01pm

Multiple visits by Suadis. Patron seems quite desperate for support this time around!!!

lafanga Jan 11, 2016 02:01pm

@Sunil "Is it because Pakistan is neighbor to Iran, the Saudi ministers have been visiting Pakistan?"

Yes partly because of that but most importantly because Saudis know that only Pakistan army can defend them against any threats, internal or external. Pakistan has mentioned this policy time and again that any threat to Saudi territorial integrity will result in strong military response from Pakistan army. They just want the policy to be reiterated for the Iranian ears.

Rizwan Jan 11, 2016 02:10pm

Overall pakistan is being benifited from Golf countries not Iran. If war breaks with India. Iran will take Indian side. We need to be open to which side to take based on our national interest.

Riaz54 Jan 11, 2016 03:06pm

Pakistan was created as an Islamic state and therefore has obligations to promote unity and peace amongst the Islamic nations. We must not get into divide and rule bandwagon.

This must it foremost goal, having expired this then of course defence of the holy places becomes it paramount mandate.

karachi wala Jan 11, 2016 03:51pm

Why? are we slaves to them? Do Saudis provide free hajj and umra services to Pakistanis? Do they respect an ordinary Pakistani on their soil?

When will be able to separate Saudis from Islam? They are not Islam. Instead, they are one of the bitter pillar of international establishments to separate Muslims from Muslims. Iran being the other such pillar. They both are the forces to divide Muslims the world over.

Hassan Rashid Tehran,Iran Jan 11, 2016 03:53pm

As an iranian i will only wish that this time pakistan doesn't fall in the plans of the al saud family as you did last time with the taliban. Iran didn't do anything last time but this time we won't be that forgiving. Lest we always have India at our side......

Shahzad shaikh Jan 11, 2016 05:24pm

@Nasrullah Khan -USA .. Dude you stole my words. I have the exact sentiments. Bravo bravo

Shahzad shaikh Jan 11, 2016 05:28pm

@lafanga pak army will be obliterated from the face of this earth if it engages into a war with Iran. I think the army knows that. Best of luck

Sameer Pune Jan 11, 2016 06:09pm

Saudi Arabia can not call for war agaist Iran as Iran has nuclear weapons. May be SA is seeking help from PK in case of use of nuclear weapons... Or trying to aquire nuclear tech from PK.

Mahmood Jan 11, 2016 06:19pm

@Sameer Pune You are clueless!

Iran has a nuclear program, but does not have nuclear weapons, nor the process or material to develop a nuclear bomb.

And Pakistan may sell the Saudis a nuclear bomb, but Saudis will be clueless about how to deploy it without Pakistan's help. And if it is even dropped on Iran, imagine what Iran's reaction towards Pakistan will be!

Akber Jan 11, 2016 07:00pm

Threat to royal family does not equate to a threat to holy places, people should keep this difference in mind. Obviously the only threat we see now is to the royal family for which they need foot soldiers, hence all these trips to Pakistan.

Jackie Jan 11, 2016 08:21pm

@Akber - Saudis cannot fight. Remember Kuwait when Saudi's and Kuwaiti's ran and had to ask US for help. They want Pakistani foot soldiers to do the dirty work for them.

lucky Jan 11, 2016 08:32pm

salute to general

Pakistani Jan 11, 2016 09:06pm

Saudis demolished Jannat Ul Baquee where many respected sahaba karam and Ummahat Ul momineen are buried. Most historical religious places in Makkah have also been demolished or being demolished. Should we guard our heritage and the holy sites or Saudi royal family.

Imtiaz Khan Jan 11, 2016 11:16pm

This is well judged and fair policy the Gen. Raheel and the PM is following. We can't afford to leave alone SA in hour of need.

Planettrekker Jan 12, 2016 03:26am

So basically a toxic mix of petro-dollars, perverted religiosity, and crushing poverty. That's what I call a lose-lose-lose situation.

shahzad malik Jan 12, 2016 04:00pm

a good decision Pakistan should immidiately cancel the order and book SU 35 which is far better n cost less than old F 16s. Also a good lesson for Ameticans