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Pakistan defence minister cancels visit to Iran

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016,15:02 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has cancelled a planned trip to Tehran, apparently due to Iran’s tension with Saudi Arabia – a key ally of Pakistan. Asif was scheduled to travel to Tehran on a two-day visit from Monday for promoting defence ties between the two countries, Dawn reported.

According to the paper, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the cancellation of the trip. Citing a defence ministry official, it said that the trip had been cancelled. But the official did not assign any reason for the decision. Another official who did not want to say anything on the record was of the opinion that the decision could be related to tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi foreign minister and defence minister made back-to- back trips to Pakistan last week to put pressure on Islamabad to join 34-nation alliance against terrorism and seek support over Kingdom’s row with Iran. Pakistan has promised to stand by Saudi Arabia if it faced threat of territorial instability but is reluctant to send troops abroad to fight as part of the new alliance or overtly support it in tension with Iran, as it also has close ties with Tehran.