Pakistan would side with Saudi Arabia in the fast-changing situation inthe Middle East because the kingdom had always supported the country in theface of every difficult situation, Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul HaqQadri said on Saturday.
Addressing a ceremony to distribute aid among the deserving people ofAzad Kashmir, organised by the International Islamic Relief Organisation,the minister said Saudi Arabia was a friend and it had always given importanceto Pakistan.
The minister did not mention the killing of an Iranian general in a USstrike in Iraq and the Saudi-Iranian tensions. "We are proud of our friendshipwith Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia helped us on every occasion," he told theceremony, also attended by the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan NawafAl-Maliki.
The minister said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hadalso supported Pakistan in the time of need. He pointed out that Saudi Arabialaunched relief operation for the cold-affected people in northern regions.
The minister spoke a day after the Foreign Office issued acarefully-drafted statement, expressing "deep concern with the recentdevelopments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stabilityin the region".
The Foreign Office did not explicitly mention the assassination ofMaj-Gen Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on Friday. "Respectfor sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of theUN Charter, which should be adhered to," the statement said.