Pakistani leaders call attack on Saudi oil facilities attack on Pakistan

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A picture taken on May 13, 2019 off the coast of the Gulf emirate of Fujairah shows reporters taking images of the Saudi oil tanker Al-Marzoqah, one of the four tankers damaged in alleged "sabotage attacks" in the Gulf the previous day. Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were damaged in mysterious "sabotage attacks" in the Gulf as tensions soared in a region already shaken by a standoff between the United States and Iran. (Source - Emirati National Media Council)
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An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2019

Pakistani leaders call attack on Saudi oil facilities attack on Pakistan

  • "This is sheer act of terrorism," ruling party lawmaker Vawda says
  • Attack on two oil pumping stations by bomb-carrying drones caused a fire, now contained

ISLAMABAD: Major Pakistani political parties on Tuesday condemned an attack on two Saudi oil pumping stations by bomb-carrying drones, just days after four tankers were attacked at anchor off the UAE coast, saying the enemies of Saudi Arabia were tantamount to being the enemies of Pakistan.

The energy minister of the world’s largest oil exporter said the attack caused a fire, now contained, and minor damage at one pump station, but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products.

Saudi Aramco later confirmed the attack in a statement, stating that it had “responded to a fire at East West Pipeline Pump station 8 which was caused by a sabotage incident using armed drones which targeted pump stations 8 and 9.”

Federal minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Faisal Vawda condemned the attack and said Pakistan, itself a major victim of terrorism, would stand by the Kingdom.

"This is sheer act of terrorism which should be strongly condemned by the world community," he said.  "We have strong bonds with Saudi Arabia and have always been on its side whenever terrorists have tried to destabilize it."

“Attacking Saudi Arabia is like attacking Pakistan,” opposition Pakistan Peoples Party leader Senator Sehar Kamran told Arab News. “Saudi Aramco recently announced it would establish a $10 bn oil refinery in Pakistan. This is a huge investment. Attacking Aramco is not only an attack on Saudi Arabia’s interests but also the interests of Pakistan.”

“Pakistan stands with the Saudi Arabia as per our commitment that Pakistan will always stand by the kingdom,” she said, calling on Muslim states united agains forces that wanted to harm Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan called for an investigation into the attack.

“Saudi Aramco is investing in Pakistan. Some forces don’t want the region to prosper,” he said, calling it part of a greater game against the development and prosperity of the region.

“These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran,” Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid A. Al-Falih said in comments to the media.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis militia for four years in Yemen to try to restore the internationally recognised government.

Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami party’s secretary foreign affairs, Abdul Ghaffar Aziz, said Houthi rebels in Yemen had already done serious damage to the region and its people by revolting against an elected government.  

“They had attacked oil tankers a few days ago,” Aziz said. “Now this attack is like playing with fire as such attacks can ignite a dangerous war in the region.”

PM pledges full support for Punjab CM Buzdar as party shows cracks

Updated 26 January 2020

PM pledges full support for Punjab CM Buzdar as party shows cracks

  • PTI’s KP chief on Sunday expelled three cabinet members for creating pressure against him
  • Political analysts say main challenge for government is to keep its coalition partners intact

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to fully support Punjab’s Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and quashed any questions of his replacement in a ministerial meeting in Lahore on Sunday amid reports of growing differences within the party, according to a lawmaker present at the meeting. 
Earlier, a group of 20 dissident lawmakers of the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in Punjab-- Pakistan’s biggest province-- demanded Buzdar improve governance of the province and ensure a fair distribution of development funds among the districts.
“The Prime Minister said that Buzdar enjoyed his full support and any change in Punjab set-up would create trouble for the party,” a senior leader of the PTI and member of the national assembly Raja Riaz told Arab News.
“He said that Buzdar would continue as Punjab Chief Minister and the party has no plans of changing him,” Riaz said.
The Prime Minister’s support for Buzdar comes on the same day three senior ministers of PTI’s provincial government in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province were expelled, reportedly to quell party differences. In media reports, the ministers have been accused of creating a forward bloc against KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. 
KP’s sacked ministers include Muhammad Atif Khan, who looked after sports, culture and tourism; Shahram Khan Tarakai, who was responsible for the provincial health sector; and Shakeel Ahmed, who held the portfolio of revenue and estate.
According to prominent political analysts in Pakistan, the political moves signal that leaders of the ruling party are losing control of their lawmakers due to bad governance and a failure to improve the economy to benefit the common man.
“The cracks in the ruling party show a total failure of governance,” Adnan Rehmat, a political analyst, told Arab News. “PTI leaders, including the prime minister, have been living in a bubble while the people have been suffering for their inaction.”
Rehmat said that differences in ruling parties start emerging when they fail to deliver and meet public expectations. 
“The provincial ministers who are fired were apparently lobbying to gain more privileges and authority, but the leadership seems to have taken it as a violation of party discipline,” he said.
Now it seems, the ruling party’s problems are not only limited to its own lawmakers. The party’s coalition partners have also been voicing concerns over governance and performance. A key cabinet member of the government from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) resigned from his position earlier this month, saying the government had not fulfilled their demands.
“The coalition governments have been inherently weak in nature as the partners always try to extract maximum concessions and benefits from the ruling party,” Zaigham Khan, a political analyst, told Arab News.
“Now with each passing day, public pressure and demands of its coalition partners will increase, and this government will become more unstable,” he said.
“Main challenge for this government is to keep its coalition partners intact in both the center and Punjab; otherwise the equation may change in the coming months,” he added.
“Imran Khan has fully supported Usman Buzdar as chief minister of the Punjab, but will it bridge the gulf among the party fellows?” senior journalist Salim Bokhari told Arab News. “That is the big question.”