ISLAMABAD: "Are you with us or with Qatar?" Saudi King
Salman raised this question during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif, who had visited the Gulf Kingdom for finding a diplomatic solution to
the Qatar crisis.
The Saudi monarch asked Sharif to take a clear position on Qatar during their
meeting in Jeddah on Monday, The Express Tribune reported, citing diplomatic
"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 paper said.
Pakistan has been treading a careful path since Saudi and other Gulf countries
snapped diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing the oil-rich country of
supporting terrorist groups. But Saudi wants Pakistan to side with the kingdom,
Citing a senior government official, who was briefed on the talks at the
monarch's palace in Jeddah, the paper said that 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," it said.
Sharif, accompanied by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior
officials, travelled to Jeddah on Monday to discuss the emerging situation in
the Gulf world.
Prime Minister Sharif's mediation visit to Saudi did not achieve any immediate
According to an official statement, Sharif met King Salman in Jeddah and urged
an early resolution of the impasse in Gulf in the best interest of all Muslims.
Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Salman and Sharif discussed the "latest
regional developments" in addition to bilateral relations.
Salman told Sharif that "the fight against extremism and terrorism is in
the interest of all Muslims and the Ummah".
The SPA, while announcing the severing of relations with Qatar, had said it had
been done for "protection of national security from the dangers of
terrorism and extremism".
Qatar, meanwhile, has indicated that it was willing to address concerns of the
countries that ended diplomatic relations with it.
The current crisis in the Gulf is said to be the gravest that the Gulf
Cooperation Council has faced in its nearly four decades of existence, although
Qatar's relations with Saudi and some other Arab neighbours have not always
Other diplomatic efforts have so far not been successful in defusing tensions
Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad, who has been leading the diplomatic
initiative, vowed to continue his efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis despite
remaining unsuccessful in his earlier bid.
Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt had cut off diplomatic ties and transport links
with Qatar on June 5 on the pretext that its policies are fuelling extremism