Strong Saudi-Pak ties vital for regional stability
17 March 2012
By ZAFAR MAHMOOD SHEIKH - ARAB NEWS - Islamabad: Pakistani leadership, security experts, scholars and intellectuals are of the opinion that strong Saudi-Pak relations are essential for regional stability and unity of the Ummah as both countries can play a pivotal role in tackling the challenges of terrorism and extremism.
These views were expressed at a conference on “Pak-Saudi relations and its impact on regional stability” in Islamabad.
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan armed forces, Gen. Ihsanul Haq said the two countries have strategic relations but added that the relationship was below the desired level.
Gen. Ihsan, who had also served in Saudi Arabia, said terrorism was the biggest threat and needed to be neutralized. “Both the countries can counter his challenge with revised strategy and cooperation,” he added.
Former Federal Minister Saleem Saifullah Khan praised the services provided by Saudi Arabia to millions of pilgrims and said the Kingdom can play a vital role in the unity of the Ummah.
Head of one of the Muslim League factions, Khan said enhanced cooperation and strong relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can play a key role in the unity of the Ummah and in meeting the challenges of the present time.
Several participants highlighted the importance of Arabic language and the need the promote the language in Pakistan with Saudi help.
Bilateral trade relations also figured at the meeting. Former Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Omer Khan Ali Sherzai, said that business and military relations between the two countries were not up to the mark.
Sherzai said Pakistan played an active role in countering the unrest in Bahrain. “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have common interests that provide a solid ground for cooperation vital to peace in the region” he said.
Chairman of Pak-Saudi Cooperation Forum Mohammad Ali Durrani, who is a former Pakistani information minister, briefed the participants on the aims and objectives of the forum.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can counter the scourge of terrorism with strong strategic partnership that would be vital for the stability of South Asia as well as the Arab region,” Durrani said.
The issue of Afghanistan also came under discussion with participants saying that Saudi Arabia can play an active role for the resolution of Afghan conflict.
An expert on Afghan affairs, Saleem Safi spoke about Pakistan's and Saudi Arabia's relations with the United States.