Pakistanis stage demonstration against Saudi FM visit
People have taken to the streets of the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad to vent their anger at Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s visit to the country.
Carrying black flags, the protesters in their hundreds shouted slogans such as “Down with Al Saud,” “Down with the US,” “Down with Israel,” “Al Saud commits crime,” and “Al Saud supports Israel”.
The demonstrators were holding banners, one of them describing Riyadh as a US puppet which has committed a brutal and anti-humane crime by executing prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
The cleric was executed along with 46 others on January 2, a move which has drawn condemnation worldwide.
Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was arrested in 2012 and charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. A Saudi court sentenced the religious figure to death in 2014.
The Pakistani protesters were also carrying posters calling the Al Saud regime’s killing of Sheikh Nimr a Saudi-Zionist plot to escalate tensions in the Muslim world.
The top Saudi diplomat was initially scheduled to visit Pakistan on Sunday, but he postponed his trip following condemnations of the Saudi execution.
Jubeir met with Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his adviser on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said a joint news conference with Jubeir due on Thursday had been cancelled, citing a delay in the Saudi minister’s arrival.
Recently, Pakistan distanced itself from a Saudi-led so-called anti-terrorism coalition.
In mid-December last year, Saudi Arabia said it had patched together an alliance of 34 countries to combat terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria. The announcement, however, surprised some countries, saying their names had been included without their knowledge.
Last year, Pakistan also declined a Saudi call to join Saudi Arabia’s deadly military aggression against its impoverished neighbor, Yemen.
Saudi Arabia started the military attacks in late March in a bid to undermine Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and bring back to power the country’s former fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is backed by Riyadh.