ISLAMABAD – In a bid to soothe the tempers of the Saudi leadership, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will likely embark on a daylong visit to the Kingdom on the 23rd of this month to have a detailed discussion with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on the latest developments in the Middle East.
Sources in the government said that a formal request for the visit was communicated to the Saudi government and Premier Sharif would leave for the Kingdom on getting an affirmative nod.
They said the PM has cancelled his official visit to Indonesia and Indonesian government has been officially intimated.
The prime minister is likely to be accompanied by his Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, foreign secretary and other officials to reiterate the assurance to the Saudi leadership about the unflinching support Pakistan would extend to KSA in case of any threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Government sources informed The Nation that the signals coming from the Saudi government toward what they termed sidetracking of Pakistan from coming up with unconditional support to the kingdom in Yemen crisis are not positive and Premier Sharif felt the need to step in to remove the misunderstandings between the two brotherly Islamic states.
The relations between the two countries came under stress following the reaction coming from a UAE minister who termed the resolution adopted by Pakistani parliament as ambiguous and grilled Islamabad for staying neutral in the Middle East crisis, instead of standing with Saudi-led coalition.
Later to appease the Saudi leadership Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif led a high-level delegation, including civil and military officials, to KSA to remove the misconception created due to what the ruling PML-N leaders said was misinterpretation of the parliamentary resolution.
The unanimous resolution adopted by Joint Sitting of the Parliament on April 10 after a weeklong debate announced to push for the negotiated settlement of the crisis by staying neutral but vowed to come to the rescue of Saudi Arabia in case of any threat to the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the kingdom.
The delegation led by Shahbaz met with Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Abdul Aziz, to reassure Islamabad’s support to the kingdom in case of any threat to it.
But now the PM’s visit at the heels of the earlier visit by a high-powered Pakistani delegation shows that the previous delegation failed in allaying the apprehensions and concerns of Saudi leadership.