Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned a high level meeting to discuss the situation arising out the visits of the Saudi foreign and defense ministers.
Present around the table are the National Security Advisor of Pakistan Lt. Gen. (retd.) Naseer Khan Janjua, foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz, defense minister Khwaja Asif, interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and information minister Pervez Rashid.
The Prime Minister is deeply concerned and nervously sipping on his triple-khoya lassi.
You know that yesterday, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir came to meet with me. He did not tell me what he had decided with General Raheel Sharif, but he looked like someone not ready to take a no for answer.
He was discussing the problem of their relations with Iran, and thanked me for joining the 48-nation coalition. I told him that Your Excellency it is my obligation as I have said naam to our beloved Khadim al-Harmain al-Sharifayn.
I need to repeat that Nawaz Sharif always does his salt halal.
Once again, Imran is creating trouble for us. Did you see that he visited the Saudi ambassador, and then went to meet with the Iranian ambassador.
with … Imran does not know the basics. Doesn’t he know the Saudi ambassador cannot do anything except what our beloved Khadim al-Harmain al-Sharifayn wishes?
I told his Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman that we have to do things carefully in Pakistan as we have 20 percent Shia population in Pakistan. I could see anger in his eyes. He said how come so many, and that if you don’t have enough executioners, we could send you some from the Kingdom.
When I told him that even the founder of Pakistan, our beloved Quaid-e-Azam was a Shia, he was really upset and asked me, “Why couldn’t you give the contract to a Sunni builder?”
He was so angry that he asked me that did I do the building contract without advertising it.
But when I had mentioned all this to the foreign minister, he said that he is a foreign minister and not a religious affairs minister and doesn’t need figures on Sunni and Shia.
And all the time, he was telling me that before meeting with me, he had met Gen. Raheel. He reminded me that it is he who is leading the Operation Decisive Storm war in Yemen. He told me that Saudi air force is good in aerial campaigns like they are doing against the Houthi forces. I had to join him in laughter when he described how his jets destroyed a hospital in Yemen given to them by Medecins Sans Frontieres.
He reminded me how they had hosted me for so many years; and how the Aal-e Saud are good friends. He told me that the Houthis are being punished for running out their friend President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
You know Nawaz Sharif always does his salt halal – always namak halal, I will never do salt haram – not namak haram. He was a little upset that after he announced the formation of a council of 34 Muslim nations in mid-December to combat terrorism, some people in Pakistan were not giving immediate yes. He told me that he clearly had and has Iran in mind. He told me that the Iranians have strongly backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, both directly and through Hezbollah, a militia trained and armed over the years by Iran.
He reminded me all the billions of dollars of weapons the Kingdom has, and is always buying more.
I said Masha Allah, and he said insha Allah, the Pakistan army will enjoy using all fancy these weapons.
You all know that the Saudis wear the sandal they call Madan Sharqi. Has anyone seen soldiers in battle wearing sandals!
I did notice that when our military was giving him guard of honor at the airport, he kept looking at their boots.
So he says that the Kingdom can take care of bombing but they need boots on the ground. And I was thinking that no wonder why he was constantly looking at the Pakistani military’s boots.
I said, yes indeed in Pakistan, we make good military boots, like Bata, Service, and other companies.
But he kept on saying that he has already talked to General Raheel and he wants Pakistani boots on the ground.
I was thinking that how he will get Pakistani boots when does not want them from our factories. Before I could think of a response, my cellphone shows me a message from our GHQ that we have to give him what he wants. He is his father’s favorite son.
So I am just saying naam, naam, like I say naam (yes) when I meet his father, the Khadim al Harmayn al-Sharifayn.
After that I see him smiling, while checking his watch. I thought he would take it off and give it to me, but he says Shukran and that he flying home as dinner is waiting for him.
Of course, I said naam, because it is not my job to prevent Saudi princes from having their way.