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    Monday, June 12, 2017

    Nawaz Sharif in Jeddah to ease Middle East crisis

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday reached Jeddah to hold talks with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz in wake of crisis that has engulfed the Middle East.


    A statement issued by the Press Information Department said the prime minister was received by Makkah Governor Prince Fysal bin Abdul Aziz.
    The premier is accompanied by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior officials.
    In a rather surprising move, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on June 5th, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.
    The coordinated move dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.
    Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
    Economic disturbances loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways said it would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.
    Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups and broadcasting their ideology, in an apparent reference to Qatar's influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera.
    "(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," the Saudi state news agency SPA said.
    Furthermore, there were reports that Pakistan will send its troops to Qatar for its support but in a statement Foreign Office spokesperson clarified that Pakistan has deployed no troops in Qatar amid the oil-rich country’s standoff with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, the foreign ministry said. 
    Nafees Zakaria said that reports about the deployment of Pakistan Army in Qatar were “completely fabricated and baseless”.
    He added: “These false reports appear to be part of a malicious campaign aimed at creating misunderstanding between Pakistan and brotherly Muslim countries in the Gulf.”
    Reports suggested that Pakistan had decided to send military contingent to Qatar following Turkey who sent troops to the state.
    There were claims that Pakistan could send up to 20,000 soldiers to Qatar.
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