ISLAMABAD -  With a visible tilt towards Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is missing the magic to woo over Iran as Tehran and Riyadh wrestle for leadership of the Muslim word.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Riyadh to join world leaders, including United States President Donald Trump, at the US-Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh.

The premier will however, not hold bilateral meetings with world leaders on the sidelines.

The summit is being participated by leaders of the Islamic world as well as secretary generals of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In addition to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and US President Donald Trump, 55 heads of state and governments from Muslim-majority countries are attending the summit to discuss how to overcome the menace of terrorism and extremism.

A senior official at the foreign ministry told The Nation, that Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi Arabia Summit did not mean Pakistan was supporting Riyadh against Tehran.

“If Iran also holds such a meeting, we will be definitely attending it. We cannot have relations with one country at the cost of the other. It is a fact that we are struggling to win over Iran these days but we will be able to do that in the coming weeks,” he said.

PM Sharif is expected to send Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to Iran in the next few weeks to settle the differences.

The interior minister himself said last day that he would visit Iran after Ramazan and all the matters “will be addressed amicably.”

Khan said that Pakistan and Iran enjoyed close relations and Pakistan would make sure the ties were not affected.

Over the weekend, PM Sharif congratulated Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as the Iranian president.

He said that relations between the two nations were rooted in shared bonds of history, culture, traditions and faith.

Pakistan and Iran are making efforts to restore normalcy after the recent exchange of harsh statements.

This month, Iran threatened to strike inside Pakistan against the alleged militants.

Pakistan later told Iran that harsh statements could damage the friendly ties between the two neighbours.

Amid the tension, Iranian Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli told his Pakistani counterpart that Tehran suspected smuggling of narcotics and illegal crossing into Iran by Afghan nationals from the Pakistani border.

The Iranian minister invited Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to visit Iran to discuss the bilateral issues.

Another official at the foreign ministry said, apart from the interior minister’s visit to Tehran, diplomatic efforts were being made to cool down the atmosphere with the neighbour.

“We have been trying and will continue to try to convince them that relations with Saudi Arabia are not at Iran’s cost. We equally value ties with Iran as a neighbour and a Muslim country. We cannot change our neighours and so need to have good relations with them,” he added.

The official said that the Iranian side was in an aggressive mood after former army chief Raheel Sharif took over the command of a Saudi-led military alliance aimed at eliminating terrorism.

Iran believes the “Muslim Nato” – as it is being dubbed – is essentially a Sunni-alliance targeting the Shias.

Former ambassador Mushtaq Ahmed Mehar said that Saudi Arabia was trying to unite like-minded Muslim countries aiming to resolve regional issues.

“It is an important initiative by Saudi Arabia. The participation of the US president is important. Saudi Arabia is set to take the lead role in the region. Pakistan is not against Iran and is committed to having good ties with them,” he said.

International relations expert Dr Rasheed Ahmed Khan said Pakistan had always been an important member of the Muslim world and was an ally of the US.

He said that Iran had reservations against the anti-terror alliance as members were predominantly Sunni-majority countries and Tehran feared this could be used against Iran and other Shia-majority countries.

 “The US is active again in the Middle Eastern politics. They have special interest in oil-rich countries. Under this alliance, Saudi Arabia has become an important regional country,” he said.