Pakistan in dilemma on KSA-Iran diplomatic hostilities


Pakistan’s economic interest in both clashing nations Saudi Arabia and Iran has put the government of the country in a serious dilema – as Iranian Defense Minister Hussain Dehghan threatened Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after remarks by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman Al-Saud to counter Tehran’s measures by measures by moving the “battle between the two archrivals inside Iran”.

Hussain Dehghan warned kingdom soil clearly if the Saudis do any step against them, they would not leave any area untouched except Mecca and Medina, according to Tasnim News Agency.

The mere possibility, however, that a deal could be reached soon has drawn a storm of protest from Israel and Saudi Arabia, both close allies of Washington. Saudi Arabia denied this fallacious accusation. The Saudis particularly would consider a deal between the big powers and Iran over its nuclear issue as US submission to Tehran’s “hegemonic ambitions” in the Middle East. This explains why the bombing, which targeted the Iranian embassy in Beirut on November 19, was widely viewed in Tehran as aiming to undermine the Geneva talks. In a commentary titled “who benefits from terrorist blasts?” Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), pointed the finger at Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Iranian officials were also making strong comments against its neighboring country especially Pakistan. Pakistan has close ties with KSA and receives financial aids from the kingdom, but Iran is its next door neighborhood. At the moment, with oil prices at a low, Iran is more important to Pakistan’s energy needs than Saudi Arabia.

According to our Pakistani correspondent, Syeda Faiza Bukhari, it is obvious that this is very hard time for Pakistan to make a final decision whether to support KSA or Iran. If Pakistan supports Iran, being a Sunni-majority country, a strong reaction is expected from the people of Pakistan as well as religious fanatics. On the other hand, if Pakistan tries to remain neutral, the move will be considered as a “bad gesture” to Saudi, which has long been supporting Islamabad economically. That was statement made by Asim Sajjad, a columnist at the Dawn newspaper and professor at Quaid Azam University in Islamabad, told Al Jazeera. The talk between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is kept highly secret.

Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz said in a statement: “Any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif struck a more conciliatory tone, suggesting that Islamabad was willing to play the role of mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In short, Pakistan, which is thought to be home to both the world’s second largest Sunni and Shi‘ite populations, fears inviting the Middle East’s sectarianism to South Asia. The South Asian nation, which shares borders with Iran, has been reluctant to take sides in the ongoing diplomatic hostilities – despite visits by top Saudi officials. Iranian officials reveal that Iranian regime is facing the un-ending troubles.

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