ISLAMABAD: Pakistan renewed on Tuesday its security assurance to Saudi Arabia following a string of bomb blasts in the kingdom by extremists, including one outside Masjid-i-Nabwi in Madina, the second-holiest site in Islam.

The government “reiterates its abiding commitment to the safety, security and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on terrorist attacks in Madina, Qatif and Jeddah on Monday.

The Jeddah attack was carried out by a Pakistani expat whereas the attacks in Madina and Qatif were reported to have been executed by Saudi nationals.

The renewal of security assurance was made public by the Foreign Office after a telephonic conversation between Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and Saudi Defence Minster Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

“The COAS sympathised with affected families of attack victims and said we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Saudi brothers in fighting the menace of terrorism,” the ISPR said in a statement.


Islamabad has an agreement with Riyadh guaranteeing kingdom’s security


Pakistan has a longstanding agreement with Saudi Arabia guaranteeing the kingdom’s security. The understanding last year came into question when Pakistan did not send troops for joining the kingdom’s invasion of Yemen. But Islamabad later made amends by joining a Saudi-led 34 nation military alliance against terrorism even though it kept claiming for long that it was not clear about its details.

Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief had in March this year travelled to Saudi Arabia to witness the inaugural exercises of the alliance, which were also attended by Pakistani troops.

Meanwhile, Prime Minis­ter Sharif, in a statement issued by his office, called for unity among Muslim countries in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

“Ummah in particular needs to forge unity at this critical moment to foil the nefarious designs of enemies of humanity and Ummah. We need to renew collective efforts to fight the menace of terrorism,” Mr Sharif said.

Emphasising the unity in the fight against terrorism, he recalled the attacks by militants, mostly belonging to the Islamic State group, in Tur­key, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh during Ramazan.

The statement said Mr Sharif had emphasised on unity in counter-terrorism efforts “in the wake of increasing acts of terrorism and extremism across the continents”.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2016

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