ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) yesterday cautioned the government against becoming part of the proposed 34-nation Islamic military alliance to combat terrorism and extremism if it was aimed at targeting Iran.

Chairman PTI Imran Khan gave these remarks while addressing a press conference at the party’s central secretariat after his separate meeting with the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The separate meetings of the ambassadors of two Islamic countries with the leader of main opposition party are significant at a time when Pakistan had announced to become part of 34-nation military alliance and in the wake of growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Pakistan should make its position clear that it would not be part of any alliance that could be used against Iran and should play the role of a mediator in resolving the Saudi-Iran stand off,” Imran Khan said, adding that Iran believed that 34-nation military alliance would be used against it instead of fighting against militancy and extremism.

Imran Khan said that Pakistan was a nuclear Muslim state and must play a ‘leadership role’ in resolving Saudi-Iran crisis. He said that the government must clear its position that it was not become part of any anti-Iran coalition. “We are in opposition, but we have made our position clear. We still don’t know what role Pakistan is going to play in resolving the Saudi-Iran tensions...it [government] should make it clear its position,” he added.

PTI vice chairman who was also present on the occasion quickly added that the government had greed to brief the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs next Friday despite knowing the tension was escalating with each passing day. “It is a pity to see the government is delaying the briefing to the members of parliament on the issue...it should brief the parliament as soon possible but the seriousness of the government is quite unfortunate,” he regretted.

Imran insisted that attack on Saudi embassy in Tehran paved the way for the ongoing conflict between the two countries. “Iranian ambassador told me during the meeting that his country was not involved in attack on embassy,” he said. The ambassador told me that Iran would bring to book the culprits soon, he said. In the meeting the ambassador also told Imran Khan that the hanging of Shia scholar Sheikh Nimr by Saudi Arabia was a message of hate from it.

The Saudi ambassador in his meeting with PTI chief said that the hangings of 47 people was their internal matter and it should be clear that out of the executed persons, 44 belonged to Sunni sect. He dispelled the impression that these executions were an action against Shias. He told chairman that Saudi Arabia had no option to sever its relations with Iran after attack on its embassy.

Imran Khan in the press conference said that the growing rift between two Muslim countries could cause sectarian conflicts. “I will attend the National Assembly session next week and apprise the government about the seriousness of the issue,” he said. “I have come to know from the two ambassadors the main reasons of conflict but the PML-N government was not looking serious to play its role,” he said, adding the foreign policy of the country is not apparent any where in this connection.

About Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Imran Khan said that the meeting was arranged through an Indian steel business tycoon Sajjan Jindal rather Foreign Office should arrange this. He said that Pathankot airbase attack incident in India was being used to increase tension between the two countries. He questioned the PM whether he would condemn tweets of Jindal that Pakistan’s agencies were responsible for Pathankot terrorist incident. Who is Jindal and what was his relationship with the PM or his sons, he again questioned. Why did the PM visit his house in Dehli for dinner and what was Jindal doing in Kathmandu and Raiwind, he added.