ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that the country has neither signed an official agreement with Saudi Arabia nor joined 34-country alliance to fight terror due to some outstanding discussion.
While forwarding a written reply in the matter in the National Assembly (NA), Aziz said that Pakistan has welcomed Saudi-called grand alliance among 34 countries against extremism however, the country has not formally joined the bloc yet.
He cited need for technical assistance and other detailed discussions in the matter before taking a step.
He said that other Muslim countries are also joining the grand alliance in bid to root-out terrorism. However, interest of Syria, Iraq and Iran about participation has not been asked. A meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of the alliance was to be held in February however, no tentative date has been given so far.
If a meeting is held, Pakistan would raise question regarding participation of the three Muslim countries, he added.
The National Security Advisor (NS) said that Pakistan would stand by Saudi Arabia for stability and sovereignty. He said that 1,000 to 1,200 Pakistani troops is always there in Saudi in commemoration of defense agreement signed in 1982.
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Shahida Rehmani posed a question asking Aziz to clarify whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Nawaz Sharif’s residence in Lahore’s Jati Umra for a business deal or attend his granddaughter’s wedding.
Replying to the question, the NSA said that Modi’s Lahore visit revitalized Pakistan-India efforts to better relations and solve outstandi
Earlier on January13, Aziz had said Pakistan is part of Saudi Arabia-led alliance but would not send its forces. He had said that sending forces in any country is against the policy.
Pakistan would only send its forces for peace keeping missions of the United Nations (UN), he added. The NSA also said that Saudi has not requested Pakistan to send its forces.
On December 15, Pakistan had sought a report from Saudi authorities over announcement of Pakistan s participation without having reached a decision through consultation.
Foreign Office (FO) contacted Pakistani ambassador in Riyadh and demanded a report on the issue. It is worth mentioning here that Saudi Arabia has announced Pakistan’s name in past as well as an ally against Yemen.