Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Criticising the prime minister for ‘an ineffective tour’ of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan on Monday accused Nawaz Sharif of failing to take a stand for Pakistan and other Muslim communities, including Iran, Kashmir and Palestine, during his interactions in Riyadh.

“[Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif was mere a ‘12th player’ at the Riyadh summit,” the PTI chief said while speaking to the media in Islamabad. He pointed out that in his speech, US President Trump failed to mention the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war against terror, and PM Nawaz failed to correct him.

PM Nawaz Sharif attended the first-ever Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh on Sunday, where he interacted with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, US President Donald Trump and other leaders from Arab and Islamic countries.

“The most important thing is that he [Trump] did not even mention Pakistan … the country that fought America’s war and lost 70,000 people,” Khan said.

“The country became a front-line state and sacrificed lives in the war but … instead [Trump] praised [India],” Khan added.

During his speech, Trump had named India among the countries that are a “victim of terrorism”.

Khan also criticised the US president for not speaking about the atrocities committed by India against the people of India-held Kashmir.

“He [Trump] praised India for making sacrifices and did not speak about the atrocities being committed against the Kashmiris … he did not speak about Palestinians,” he added.

Khan went on to say that when Trump lashed out against Iran and called for the country to be isolated, Prime Minister Sharif should have taken a stance and said that such a move would be against the interests of the Muslim world.

During his speech, Trump had accused Iran of fuelling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” and called for its international isolation.

“He [the prime minister] should have spoken about the parliamentary resolution which was unanimously accepted by all parties and which said that Pakistan would work to bring the Muslim community together,” Khan said.

He added that since Nawaz was representing Pakistan at the summit, it was his duty to emphasise that Pakistan does not want Iran to be isolated.

“We had an opportunity, but he kept silent,” the PTI chief said. “We do not want the Muslim world to be divided,” he added.