`Sharif most trusted man of Saudi royal family in Pak`

These remarks by a senior PML-N leader came amid release of secret US cables by WikiLeaks.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2010, 18:31 PM IST

Lahore: Pakistan`s main opposition PML-N
party says its chief Nawaz Sharif is the Saudi royal family`s
"favourite and most trusted man" in this country despite "some
misunderstanding" between them in the past.

These remarks by a senior PML-N leader came amid release
of secret US cables by WikiLeaks, which showed that Sharif
broke a promise made to the royal family by issuing political
statements from Saudi Arabia while he was living there in
self-exile and by visiting Pakistan in 2005 in violation of an
agreement not to return to the country for 10 years.

"Yes there may have been some misunderstanding between
Sharif and the Saudi royal family at that time but now he is
Saudi Arabia`s favourite and most trusted man in Pakistan,"
the PML-N leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The cables released by the whistle-blowing website say
Saudi Arabia`s royal family historically disliked the Pakistan
People`s Party (PPP) and feared that its chief, President Asif
Ali Zardari -- who is a Shia Muslim -- could be part of a Shia
triangle with Nur-al-Maliki`s government in Iraq and Mahmoud
Ahmedinajad`s regime in Iran.

This has affected the flow of financial aid and an
agreement to provide oil to Pakistan at concessionary terms.

Zardari has built strong ties with Iran, which is one of the
reasons for Saudi Arabia`s disapproval, the cables revealed.

The PML-N leader said Pakistan`s "cordial" relations with
Saudi Arabia would be back on track "once we get rid of the
Zardari regime."

He added: "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will be fast friends
again."

Addressing a public gathering yesterday, former premier
Sharif was very critical of the PPP-led government at the
centre.

He claimed that Pakistan is facing numerous problems
because of the ill-conceived policies of President Zardari,
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and ex-military ruler Pervez
Musharraf.

Power cuts, unemployment and terrorism are the outcome of
such policies, Sharif said.

He said Musharraf implicated him in several cases and it
was "divine justice" that he (Sharif) was now living among his
own people and the former military dictator was living in
exile.

Sharif said the "former rulers wanted to hang him."

PTI