Islamabad, Pakistan. As tensions mount in the Qatar gulf dispute, Saudi Arabia doubles down on looking for trouble as it starts pushing what had been a solid ally around; Pakistan.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has given Pakistan’s prime minister an ultimatum over Qatar. In an attempt to force Nawaz Sharif to take sides, the monarch jibed, “Are you with us or with Qatar?” News Front can now report.
The Saudi king posed the question during a meeting between the two leaders in Jeddah on Monday as part of the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the Qatar crisis. “Pakistan has told Saudi Arabia it will not take sides in the brewing diplomatic crisis in the Middle East after Riyadh asked Islamabad ‘are you with us or with Qatar’,” the king clearly stated.
Pakistani leaders have been treading a careful path since Saudi and other Gulf countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. However, the Saudi government wants Pakistan to side with the kingdom. It has long been known that what nuclear weapons Riyadh has, have come from Islamabad. Some observers are surprised at the insecruirty of the king in his questioning Pakistan’s friendship.
A senior Saudi government official observed Pakistan would not take sides in any event that would create divisions within the Muslim world. “Nevertheless, in order to placate Saudi Arabia, Pakistan offered to use its influence over Qatar to defuse the situation. For this purpose, the prime minister will undertake visits to Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey,” News Front was told by Darshitt Gohelle of the Pakistani diplomatic corps.
Pakistan’s leader Sharif travelled to Jeddah accompanied by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior officials to discuss the emerging situation in the Gulf. It is thought that Prime Minister Sharif’s mediation visit to Saudi did not achieve any immediate breakthrough.