Pakistan strongly condemns Houthi drone attack on Saudi Aramco facilities

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province on Sept. 14, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 September 2019

Pakistan strongly condemns Houthi drone attack on Saudi Aramco facilities

  • Foreign office says such acts of sabotage cannot be condoned
  • Pakistan’s political leaders say the country is ready “to take any step” for the safety and security of Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday issued a strong condemnation of the drone attack on two Saudi oil processing facilities, Buqayq and the Khurais oil field, which had caused fire and damage.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks on the two facilities in the kingdom’s Eastern province on Saturday, the group’s military spokesman said on Al-Masirah TV.
“Such acts to sabotage and disrupt commercial activities causing fear and terror cannot be condoned,” a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
“Pakistan reiterates its full support and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and territorial integrity,” it further stated.
PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, who is leader of the opposition in the Senate, told Arab News that Pakistan was “ready” to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty.
“Saudi Arabia has the right to act in self defense,” Haq said. 
“Pakistan is ready to take any step for the safety and security of Saudi Arabia,” he said and added that countries who “claim to be friends of Saudi Arabia should stand by it to stop such attacks on the sovereignty...of the country.”
Latif Khosa, Former Governor of Punjab province and a central leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, told Arab News that it was increasingly dangerous that militant groups like Houthis had got their hands on drones.
“World powers should support Saudis against such militant groups,” Khosa said.
He added that Pakistanis had “special respect for Saudis” and that the kingdom could bank on Pakistan.
The broadcaster, Al-Masirah TV, said the Houthis had deployed 10 drones against the sites in Abqaiq and Khurais, and the group pledged to widen the range of its attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition fighting them in Yemen.
Dr. Abdul Ghaffar Aziz, Director International Affairs of Pakistan's religious-politico party, Jamat-i-Islami, said the attacks must be condemned across the table.
“All the countries of the region, whether they are friends of Saudi Arabia or have differences with them, should condemn this militant attack which cannot be justified in any case,” he told Arab News.
Khalid Rehman, Director General of the Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad, said it was unfortunate that the Houthis were spreading unrest in Yemen and attacking sovereign countries.
“The whole Muslim world should join hands with Saudi Arabia to stop such evil forces and to bring peace in Yemen as well as the region,” Rehman said.

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.