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Ex-Saudi envoy Ali Asseri urges political leaders to reconcile differences


ISLAMABAD, MAR 20: Ali Asseri, the former Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, has appealed to the political leaders in the government and the opposition to reconcile differences in the larger national interest.

In his article published by the Arab News, he argued that current political polarization is ripping the nation when it is facing the most severe economic crisis in history.

“With political conflict and economic crisis reinforcing each other, the end result can only be disastrous. Averting this eventuality requires a renewed spirit of reconciliation and restraint by all political players and state institutions,” he wrote.

During his decade-long tenure (2001-09), Saudi Arabia and Pakistan worked closely in the War on Terror. Ambassador Asseri also played a key role in political reconciliation between the Musharraf regime and the exiled PML-N leadership in the Kingdom. He was recently in Islamabad on a private visit.

In his opinion, no country can economically progress unless its political system is stable. Political stability ensures continuity of economic policy. Unfortunately, the surge of populism has polarized politics and society. This dangerous trend must reverse.

“There is an urgent need for building a bare minimum consensus on the core issues of national agenda pertaining to economy, national security, and foreign policy. This consensus must be built after accommodating differences of opinion among the key stakeholders,” Ambassador Asseri

“Recovering the economy from the current crisis is a necessary choice. Support from trusted friends like Saudi Arabia will follow,” he added.

The former Saudi envoy also argued that all the political stakeholders must agree upon and adhere to some basic Rules of the Game and abide by them. “It is good that the military leadership has finally decided to stay away from politics. Now politicians have a huge responsibility to act maturely, respect each other and work for the greater public good.”

“The political parties need to sit together and develop a code of conduct for regulating political competition and resolving political conflict through compromise in the true spirit of national reconciliation,” he further stated.

Pakistan, he argued, is in dire need of a healing touch. It can count on Saudi Arabia, which wants to invest in the future of Pakistan. But the real momentum for economic recovery and political stability must come from within.

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