Middle East Crisis: PM, COAS Off To Saudi For One-Day Visit

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa on Monday left for Saudi Arabia on a day-long visit in the backdrop of a deepening diplomatic rift in the Middle East.

The PM and COAS are accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and other senior officials, according to the Press Information Department.

The delegation is expected to hold talks with Saudi leadership centered on deteriorating relations between Gulf nations after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

In its initial response to the Middle East crisis, Pakistan had stressed the need for unity in the Muslim world and urged the countries involved to engage in dialogue.

Last week, lawmakers at the National Assembly expressed “deep concern” over the diplomatic rift and passed a resolution urging all countries to “show restraint and resolve their differences through dialogue”.

Earlier, a six-member Qatari delegation had reportedly visited Islamabad last week to relay a message from the Qatari emir, asking Pakistan to play a positive role in resolving the diplomatic crisis engulfing the Middle East.
The Foreign Office had denied knowledge of any such visit and has also recently denied foreign media reports of 20,000 Pakistani troops being deployed in Qatar.

Credit: Dawn

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