Sharif to visit Saudi Arabia amid Gulf crisis

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss with its leadership the rift in the Gulf after several Arab and Islamic countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups.

Radio Pakistan reported that Prime Minister Sharif will hold talks with the Saudi leadership on the latest situation developing amongst the Gulf Cooperation Countries.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is also expected to accompany the Prime Minister, sources said. Sharif may also visit Qatar and the UAE after talks with the Saudi officials.

Sharif held consultations on Monday with senior officials from civil and military about his visit. It is not clear what plan he would put forward to ease tension which has badly polarized the Arab and Muslim world.

Pakistan enjoys close ties both with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He undertook a similar peace mission when tension brewed between Iran and Saudi Arabia last year after execution of a Shia cleric by the kingdom.