Islamabad, Oct 7: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the course of mediating with Saudi Arabia, has prolonged his stay by two days. The mediation in conjunction with Saudi Arabia is to bring about a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Karzai regime to pave the way for withdrawal of the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Sources believed that the Saudi initiative in which Nawaz Sharif had his own role had the 'backing of Washington and London'.
"Nawaz Sharif was invited by Saudi King Abdullah and he undertook the present visit to stay in Saudi Arabia for nearly two weeks to talk about the nitty-gritty of the peace process. It was for this precise reason that the PML-N chief has put off his departure from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan for another two days," The News quoted an informed source as saying.
According to the source, the PML-N chief will now return home on Tuesday, Oct 7.
During his stay, Nawaz held detailed discussions with the Saudi monarch over the ongoing wave of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and the bloodshed in Afghanistan.
US media reports also suggested that secret peace talks have been held between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Saudi Kingdom, and both sides agreed to resolve the Afghan issue through dialogue.
Meanwhile, sources close to President Asif Zardari are said to be oblivious of the PML-N chief's "role" and "efforts" in bringing the warring sides on the negotiating table. "Nawaz Sharif is serving as a bridge," one political source said and added that he was an "old hand" on Afghanistan.
During his two stints as prime minister, Nawaz Sharif had developed good working relations with almost all the Afghan Mujahideen leaders, who were now largely irrelevant because of the fighting strength of the Taliban.