By a Staff Writer
Published — Friday 11 January 2002
Last Update 11 January 2002 3:00 am
JEDDAH, 11 January — Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmad stressed the government’s concern for the safety of its citizens both inside and outside the Kingdom, a local newspaper quoted the minister as saying.
Commenting on the reported presence of 200 Saudi detainees in Pakistan, Prince Ahmad said the Foreign Ministry is the concerned authority to deal with the affairs of the citizens outside the country as per the directives of the higher authorities, Okaz reported yesterday.
However, there is constant coordination between his ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on issues involving the safety of the citizen wherever they may be.
Prince Ahmad explained that the issue of bringing back the families of the Saudis killed in Afghanistan did not come under his ministry’s jurisdiction, adding that the Foreign Ministry was the right authority to act on it.
The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Saeed Al-Asiri, while reacting to recent news reports said that he was not aware of the presence of Saudis being detained in Pakistan following the ouster of the Taleban militia from power in Afghanistan. Al-Asiri said only one man was in jail and it was for a drug offense.
The ambassador, however, added that other Saudis might be detained in camps set up by the Pakistani and American authorities on the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the Saudi government was unaware of these camps.
The minister said that security cooperation between the Kingdom and Pakistan is excellent and has been existing even before the recent developments in the region. The cooperation has not been affected by the recent developments, he added. He, however, denied there was any such cooperation with Afghanistan as no diplomatic relations have been established between the two countries yet with the present government having only ‘interim’ status.
The Kingdom severed diplomatic relations with the Taleban government on Sept. 24 last year following the Taleban government’s refusal to cooperate with the international campaign against terrorism.