ISLAMABAD: Toeing the party line, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Sher Afzal Marwat on Thursday said that his statement about the alleged role of Saudi Arabia in the 2022 ouster of the Imran Khan government was based on his personal opinion, but sticking to his earlier stance, he declared that the notion of Saudi Arabia being a brotherly Islamic country was mere self-deception by Pakistanis.

Mr Marwat was talking to the media outside the Parliament House after participating in the noisy protest during President Asif Zardari’s address to the joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate.

The PTI MNA, who is known for causing controversies, came in the spotlight again when his party publicly distanced itself from his statement in which he had accused both the US and Saudi Arabia of conspiring to topple the PTI government.

Mr Marwat, a member of PTI’s political committee, had levelled the allegations in an interview on a private news channel amid a critical visit from a high-level Saudi delegation to Pakistan. He had also claimed that Saudi Arabia was influenced by the US in regional matters.

When asked about his previous statement, the PTI leader owned it, adding that they were his own views and he had an understanding of the issue.

When questioned on the premise of his understanding, Mr Marwat stated about the intellect capacity of parliamentarians and professionals.

“I have a basic understanding of things, and it is also based on common sense,” he said, adding, “Just look at the friendship between India and Saudi Arabia and see what they are doing for India and compare it with what they have done for us—all their favours to Pakistan are peanuts compared to the benefits given to India.”

Replying to a question that his statements are not being taken well by the leadership of his party, Mr Marwat noted, “My level of intellect is equal to that of yours, so whatever you say is okay.”

However, a day earlier, PTI leaders Zulfi Bukhari and Asad Qaiser tried to clarify the party’s position on the subject in separate statements. They expressed that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were united by shared values, culture, and a common vision for regional peace and prosperity.

Mr Bukhari, on his X (previously Twitter), said that the party had no reason whatsoever to say or believe in any kind of intervention from the kingdom.

He added that PTI chairman Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have a relationship of mutual respect, trust, and brotherhood.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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