Pakistan, Islamabad– Pakistan Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif have landed in Tehran to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, The Pakistani political and military leadership has come together to diffuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi executed as many as 47 people in one day including prominent Shi’a Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr on Jan 2.
Iran, being the Shia majority country protested against the executions leading to immediate cut-off of diplomatic terms. Meanwhile, ambassadors were called back by both the sides. PM Nawaz and army chief had left for Saudi Arabia on Monday and held meetings with authorities including King Salman. The leaders discussed diffusion of row and progress in ties. However, Iran and Saudi have never enjoyed a complete trustworthy relation in the history of the two sides.
An official statement issued by Saudi stated that King Salman welcomed the Pakistan Prime Minister and military leader. However, details about the discussions were not given out on Jan 18. Nonetheless, Pakistan, as a peacemaker has taken step in bid to at least restore what there was before the executions. On the other hand, other premiers, presidents and foreign secretaries have vowed to play part in reconciliation efforts. China’s Xi Jinping and Indonesian President are among the vowers.
Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was executed for alleged terrorism. On Jan 7, Saudi Foreign Minister (FM) Adel Bin Ahmed al-Jubeir visited Islamabad and met PM Nawaz and the army chief. The meetings discussed mutual relations and the situation prevailing in Middle East. Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir appreciated Pakistan’s role in war against terror and said that Pakistan’s role in the region’s stability is exemplary. On the question of Iran, Syria and Iraq’s exclusion from the recently announced 34-nation alliance by the Kingdom, it was stated that the countries were not included due to a trust deficit.
Tensions recently flared between the two-regional rivals after the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, which led to the eruption of protests all over the region. As a reaction to the execution of the cleric, Riyadh’s diplomatic post was also attacked in Iran by angry protesters, which led to the severance of dimplomatic ties between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic, further complicating an already tense atmosphere.