Pakistan maintains a balanced position on West Asian conflicts: Sartaj Aziz

Pakistan said on Friday that it maintains a balanced position on conflicts in West Asia and fully supports Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity.

Pakistan's advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said this while responding to Senator Farhatullah Babar regarding statements of Saudi authorities that the Islamic military alliance was not restricted only to fight terror groups.

File image of Pakistan foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

File image of Pakistan foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

Pakistan's former army chief General Raheel Sharif heads the 41-nation Islamic military alliance, dubbed as Islamic NATO. The alliance is led by Saudi Arabia.

Babar said that Saudi authorities' statements created an impression that the alliance could also be used against Iran.

The senator had demanded the government to come clean on the issue as the Parliament has issued guidelines that Pakistan would not take sides in the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

He had also sought clarification if the government would call back General Sharif in case the alliance was used against Iran.

Aziz said the members of the alliance will themselves decide which activity they want to participate in. These activities include political consultation, intelligence sharing, capacity building, counter-narrative, and military cooperation, he said.

It was decided that programmes and mechanism of the alliance will be decided during a meeting of the defence ministers of the member countries, which has not yet happened, Aziz said.

Aziz rejected the impression that any statement from Saudi authorities can be the terms of reference. He said mandate of the alliance is to counter terrorism and any statement from a Saudi dignitary will not affect Pakistan's foreign policy.

Aziz said Pakistan will never deploy its troops outside Saudi Arabia.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 11:45 AM

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