ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday assured Saudi Arabia of unflinching support as Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The two leaders, officials said, discussed bilateral and regional matters with special focus on the recent drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Imran Khan expressed Pakistan’s support and vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia in confronting the sabotage acts which threaten the global economy and security of the Kingdom.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that he alongside Prime minister Imran Khan would visit Saudi Arabia on September 19 to discuss Kashmir and the oil facility attack.

Tensions in the Middle East have escalated following the drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks. Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to quash the Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.

Pakistan is also active to defuse tension between the United States and Iran after the attack on a Saudi oil facility blamed on Tehran by Washington. Iran had supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue when Indian merged the disputed territory in its union last month.

This week, gas companies of Pakistan and Iran signed extended Iran-Pakistan gas line agreement after mutual consent. The top officials of National Iranian Oil Company and Pakistan’ Inter-State Gas System signed the amended IP gas deal under which Pakistan will build the said pipeline by August 26, 2024, in its territory. After the agreement to extend the IP-GSPA, Iran withdrew legal notice it served on Pakistan on moving the arbitration court.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence. The claim was rejected by Tehran which said the allegations were meant to justify actions against it.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has promised to “confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” while US President Donald Trump hinted at possible military action after Riyadh concluded its investigation into the attacks.

This week, oil prices ended nearly 15 percent higher, with Brent crude logging its biggest jump in more than 30 years amid record trading volumes. Brent crude futures settled at $ 69.02 a barrel, rising $8.80, or 14.6 percent - its largest one-day percentage gain since at least 1988.