ISLAMABAD – Amid escalating diplomatic tension between Saudi Arabia and Canada, Pakistan has decided to back the stance of the Muslim country in the row.
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday said, “Pakistan stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting its sovereignty as a matter of principle and based on the historic and brotherly relations between our two countries”.
“Pakistan is following with immense concern the crisis in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada and places on record its solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” local media quoted Faisal as saying.
“Pakistan always supports the sovereignty of states and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. Both these aspects are enshrined in UN Charter and are among the basic tenets of international law, and the foundation of peaceful and friendly inter-state relations,” he asserted.
“We fully agree with the statement of the OIC Secretary General that Saudi Arabia enjoys immense respect at the regional and international level, as it does among the people of Pakistan,” he added.
Saudi Arabia and Canada were engaged in the conflict after Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called for releasing women’s rights activist Samar Badawi. Later, the Canadian government demanded immediate release of jailed activists.
SAUDI- CANADIAN ROW
On Monday, the Kingdom expelled the Canadian envoy and had recalled its envoy after the latter raised concerns over detaining activists in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs simultaneously declared the Ambassador of Canada persona non-grata, besides freezing all trade and investment ties between the two countries.
The move of Saudi Arabia, which shows the aggressive foreign policy led by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, came few days after Canada raising concerns over jailing the civil society activist, including award-winning Samar Badawi, called for their immediate release.
On Friday, the Canadian foreign ministry tweeted,”We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists”.
However the kingdom said what the Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian Embassy said about what they called “civil society activists” was false allegations and not based on truth.
The ministry considers the Canadian statements as a blatant interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs that violates simple international norms that governs relations between countries, Saudi media reported.
The recent action of expelling the top envoy of an influential country in the world give a strong message to the Western government which criticised the Kingdom over such moves.
Samar and fellow activist Nassima al-Sadha were arrested last week. The Human Rights Watch has described the action unprecedented Kingdom’s crackdown on the women’s rights movement.
Samar is a vocal campaigner for blogger Raif Badawi, her brother who was awarded 10 years imprisonment besides sentencing to 1,000 lashes in 2012.
The recent arrest amid a move of detaining over dozen activist during the previous weeks. The campaigners were arrested for allegedly posing threat to national security and collaborating with enemies of the state.
Slamming the Canadian statement, the foreign ministry of Saudi Arabia tweeted as saying, “Using the phrase ‘immediately release’ in the Canadian statement is very unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states”.