ISLAMABAD - Categorically rejecting media reports that Pakistan had sent arms and fighters to Syria, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Monday confirmed that Saudi Arabia purchased Pakistani weapons but would not use them against any other state.
Briefing Senate's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said that Saudi Arabia had gifted $1.5 billion to Pakistan that had been deposited in Pakistan's Development Fund (PDF). He informed the meeting chaired by Senator Haji Adeel, "The grant given by Saudi Arabia is unconditional and in return Pakistan is not supposed to give anything to the Kingdom." He added that Pakistan had not changed its foreign policy due to the foreign funding.
Sartaj said Pakistan's stance was clear, as it would not get involved in Syria conflict and supported the Geneva I and Geneva II pacts. Aziz further said that Pakistan had to balance its relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would soon visit Iran for which dates were being worked out by both the governments.
Later when contacted Chairman of the Committee, Haji Adeel, confirmed that Sartaj Aziz had informed the committee that no weapons or fighters had been sent to Syria.
The advisor to prime minister also told the committee that food and other facilities were being provided at the deputation centre in Saudi Arabia. He said that the foreign missions had further improved working for the welfare of Pakistani community in different countries including Saudi Arabia, England, Dubai, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Sartaj said that in camera briefing would be given about the visits of CIA chief and Saudi Crown Prince as well as the issue of tension on borders. The committee was also briefed by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry on the state of overseas Pakistanis in Jeddah and steps being taken for Pakistan consulate in Jeddah for the welfare of these Pakistanis. He told the committee that Pakistan was negotiating return of illegal Pakistanis with Saudi authorities. He said Pakistani missions in Saudi Arabia had so far issued 3‚448 emergency passports to illegal Pakistanis. Aizaz said that establishment of new consular service would be started soon in Jeddah.
During the debate regarding verification of foreign agreement by the Parliament, Secretary Law Barrister Zafarullah said that the cabinet instead of parliament should be authorised to verify agreements with other countries.
He said that the cabinet approved international agreements in several countries including Britain.
Meanwhile, talking to media after the meeting, PML-Q leader Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the committee that Saudi Arabia's $1.5 billion aid to Pakistan was not a loan but a gift. He said Aziz told the committee that Saudi delegation had visited Pakistan to discuss the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in various sectors including economy, defence and trade.
He said the committee expressed its concerns over the issue of interim set-up in Syria demanded by Saudi Arabia while the joint declaration was announced at the end of the visit of Saudi delegation.
Mushahid said that the committee adopted a unanimous resolution condemning terrorist incident in China and directed the Foreign Office to ensure the neighbouring country that Pakistan's territory was not used during this terrorist act.
Talking to newspersons Senator Sughra Imam said that former President Pervez Musharraf pushed Pakistan into foreign country's war after receiving money from the United States. She feared that $1.5 billion Saudi aid could trap the country into another foreign war.
Moreover, Mushahid moved a resolution condemning the incidents of terrorism in China and also expressed solidarity with the neighbouring country.