Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday failed to satisfy opposition members in the National Assembly on Pakistan’s role in alleviating conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia and said he would give an in-camera briefing to members of the National Assembly in the next few days after some developments. The adviser agreed for an in-camera briefing following a demand by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and PTI MNA Shireen Mazari.
The opposition members, while criticising the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, said it has no clear policy on the issue of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. They said that it is a serious issue which is not only relating to the government but the whole country. They said that Pakistan should play an active role towards removing growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Giving his policy statement on the floor of the house, Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would continue to play its positive role on this issue. He said that Pakistan would play a role of a bridge to improve the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. “After the visit of Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister to Pakistan on Thursday, I will be able to give a more detailed statement on the issue of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and other related issues,” he said.
Pakistan hopes that Saudi Arabia and Iran would restore their relations through dialogue, he said, adding that the government would continue playing its positive role towards forging unity among Muslim countries. He said it is the responsibility of both the states to provide safety to diplomatic missions.
Sartaj Aziz said for the last two and a half years, Pakistan’s foreign policy is very active and it has achieved a number of successes in terms of improving relations with different countries. He said Saudi-Iran tension is a very sensitive issue and the government is playing a positive and balanced role in this regard. He assured the House that the opinion of members of the House will also be taken in this regard.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah said Pakistan should play an active role towards de-escalating tensions between the two Islamic countries. “The conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been challenging sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan,” he said, urging the government to activate all diplomatic channels to resolve tensions between the two Muslim countries.
Shireen Mazari of PTI said the issue is very sensitive and the government should have an even handed approach towards it. Sahibzada Tariqullah, Syed Asif Hasnain, Shah G Gul Afridi and Shaikh Rashid Ahmad also spoke on the issue and demanded of the government to take the House into confidence on the issue.
They suggested that the government should immediately send delegations to Saudi Arabia and Iran to resolve the issue between them. Speaking on a resolution, members from both sides of the aisle also suggested different ways and strategies aimed at eliminating poverty and control price hike in the country. Meanwhile, responding to a calling attention notice, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said efforts are being made to ensure that no programme or advertisement that militates against our social norms is broadcast by TV channels. The Minister said PEMRA issues notices, warnings and imposes fines, within the on indecent programmes or advertisements.
Source: Business Recorder