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Turkish PM mediates between royal court and Sharif family

In another development Saudi Arabia’s growing role in Pakistan’s politics was evident when ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif  arrived in Riyadh on an unscheduled visit on Saturday to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on “matters of national interest and not for personal reasons”.

His elder brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is already in Riyadh. He is nominated to be the next Prime Minister in the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N).

Meanwhile, Dawn, quoting Senator Pervaiz Rashid , a close aide to Nawaz Sharif said  that PML-N has dismissed the reports about the possibility of  another National Reconciliation Order (NRO). “Those claiming that an NRO is being prepared should at least know that it is signed secretly and not so openly,” he said.

Pakistani media has been discussing Sharif brothers’ Riyadh visit as a part of the Saudi efforts for reaching a possible deal between the embattled Sharif family and the military establishment. Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also been critical of the sudden visits of the two most important brothers: Shahbaz and Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia’s capital.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid said, “Mian (Nawaz) Sahib’s visit is that of national interest as it has nothing to do with his personal interest. It will not be good to talk about the matters of sensitive nature before they take final shape.”

He further said that Saudi Arabia was observing developments in Pakistan closely. He was quoted saying, “At times the two friendly countries need each other’s help on certain matters. Those who are claiming that Mian Sahib’s visit to Saudi Arabia is aimed at achieving personal and party’s interests are in fact unaware of the nature of relations between the two brotherly states,” he said and advised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan to better keep quiet over Mr Sharif’s visit as his “irresponsible statements” were not only hurting Saudi Arabia but also causing problems for Pakistan.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Saudi Arabian aircraft suddenly picked Shahbaz Sharif from Lahore for Riyadh for “important meetings” and performing Umrah, a mini pilgrimage at Mekkah. An unanimous PML-N leader had told Dawn that for many years US used to play its role in Pakistani politics through Saudi Arabia and Shahbaz Sharif’s visit should be seen in that perspective.

Shahbaz Sharif is likely to accompany Nawaz Sharif during meetings with the top Saudi leadership, including King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. On Thursday Shahbaz Sharif met visiting Turkish PM Binali Yildirim in Riyadh.

Observers believe that Turkish PM has been working as mediator to restore friendly relations between Saudi rulers and most powerful Sharif brothers in Pakistan. Riyadh was unhappy over Islamabad’s refusal to send its forces to fight Saudi-led war against Yemen.

On the other hand Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief has tweeted a loaded message against Sharif family alleging of plundering national wealth.

Dismissing the possibility of Sharif’s exile in Saudi Arabia after their meetings with the royal family, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former PM tweeted: “Exile will be the fate of dictators and those who toppled democracy instead of the elected representatives of the people.”

Nawaz Sharif had resigned in July when country’s Supreme Court disqualified the Prime Minister over long running corruption allegations against him and his family over Panama Papers’ leak linking his family to lucrative offshore businesses.

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