SAUDI Arabia looks at Pakistan’s commitment to pursue energy cooperation with Iran with doubt and is asking the government to reconsider its decision.

Quoting diplomatic sources based in Islamabad, your news report ‘S. Arabia offers help to tide over energy crisis’ (April 11) said that the above-mentioned was the gist or essence of a message from the Saudi king that had been conveyed by his visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah in his meetings with Pakistani leaders.

Saudi Arabia, in an effort to persuade Pakistan to abandon the Iran gas pipeline and electricity/oil import deals, was reported to have offered an ‘alternative package’ to meet its growing energy needs.

In addition, the Arab kingdom was also said to have offered a loan and oil facility to bail Pakistan out of its financial and energy crises.

Pakistan has good brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia as well as with Iran.

The Saudi offer for help to tide over the energy crisis would be viewed by the people as a highly friendly gesture in accordance with the famous dictum ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.’

However, Pakistan is a sovereign country and, as such, it has every right to maintain relations with others in its national interest.

Maintaining good neighbourly relations with Iran did not mean endorsing its position or action on every issue.

Pakistan is faced with the worst energy crisis of its history. Not only that the industry is at a standstill, even the common man’s needs remain unfulfilled with continuing electricity and gas loadshedding.

Under these circumstances, the country has no option but to take any step that it deems fit for its economic survival.

MEHNAZ SIDDIQUI Islamabad

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