ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia on Monday denied funding of what it called the extremist mindset through its financial support of religious seminaries in Pakistan.
“A section of the media has been propagating a false impression that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is funding the extremist mindset in Pakistan through its financial support for religious seminaries,” a press statement issued by the Saudi embassy said.
“Whenever any seminary, mosque or charity organisations request the kingdom for financial assistance, the embassy refers the matter to the Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for examining suitability of the applicant,” the statement added.
It went on to say that only “when the ministry of foreign affairs informs the embassy in writing that the financial assistance is in the interest of public welfare, the assistance is provided to the applicant … The assistance has always been beyond any sectarian considerations”.
The Saudi embassy’s statement comes weeks after Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada accused the Saudi government of creating instability across the Muslim world by distributing money in order to promote religious extremism.
The minister had said that the time had come to stop the influx of Saudi money into Pakistan, which he claimed had a destabilising influence.
During Senate session on January 30, Minister of State for Interior Baligur Rehman had informed the House that Middle Eastern countries namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran and the United Arab Emirates were giving aid to religious seminaries in three provinces.
The information was compiled on the basis of a report sent by provincial Inspector Generals. According to the report: 23 religious seminaries in the country were receiving foreign assistance.