Saudi Arabia refutes reports of aiding terrorists in Pakistan

Saudi Arabia flag
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia rejected allegations of funding Sunni extremists in Pakistan Tuesday, after a minister in Islamabad accused it of destabilizing the Muslim world with its “piles of petrodollars.”

Saudi Arabia flag
Saudi Arabia flag

“Saudi Arabia is very conscious that philanthropic and humanitarian assistance do not fall into the hands of extremist elements,” the Saudi embassy in Islamabad said on Tuesday.

The unusual public statement came after the Pakistani Minister of Inter-provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada said private money from Saudi Arabia was one of the major reasons for terrorism in Pakistan.

A large number of Sunni Islamic schools or seminaries receive funding from wealthy states and individuals in the Persian Gulf, according to the Interior Ministry.

There are fears that money ends up in the hands of Islamist militants linked with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Saudi embassy said it does not give the money to seminaries, mosques and Islamic charities directly.

“Whenever there is a request [for funding], the embassy refers it to the government of Pakistan,” the statement said.

But security analysts said they believe huge transactions are still taking place through an underground network from private individuals in the Gulf, and the money might be fuelling terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.

Pakistan has conveyed concerns to Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain about curbing terror funding after Taliban gunmen killed 136 children at an army-run school in December, an Interior Ministry official said.

“Funding by private individuals and organizations to private entities through informal channels, regardless of the source and country, are being brought under tighter scrutiny in the National Action Plan against terrorism, to choke off any possibility of financing for terrorists and terrorist organizations,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said.


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