Will Pakistan be able to resolve Iran-Saudi differences?

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:52 PM, 27 Jun, 2020
Will Pakistan be able to resolve Iran-Saudi differences?

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his 75-minute address in the National Assembly on Thursday talked about a number of issues people wanted to hear from him. In the speech, he also said Pakistan is making efforts for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran at the request of leaders of the two countries.

However, he did not say at what level the efforts were being made and whether there was any headway on this front. Attempts to settle these differences had been started during the third PML-N rule when some leaders had visited the two countries.

It is a very noble mission which must succeed at all costs.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are two important Muslims countries representing Sunni and Shiite schools of thought, respectively. They are rivals at a number of places and their differences have divided the Ummah, a situation being celebrated by anti-Islam forces.

It is very unfortunate that today Saudi Arabia has very friendly relations with the United States, a Christian country, and is trying to improve ties with Israel, a Jewish state which is in illegal occupation of Al-Quds with plans to annex West Bank from July 1.

What is more disturbing is the fact that, so far, the OIC countries have no worked out plans to prevent Israel from going ahead with its illegal move, the mere condemnatory periodical press statements, notwithstanding. It may be said without any iota of doubt that differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran encourage Israel to corner the Palestinians who, unfortunately, are getting little support from the Islamic states.

In this situation, the mediatory role being quietly played by Pakistan to narrow the gulf between the pillars of Sunni and Shiite Muslims must be appreciated by everyone.

Pakistan’s major political parties can also play an important role for the success of the government’s mission.

The PML-N and the PPP plan to hold an all-party conference during the next few days to highlight what they call anti-people policies of the present government. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are in close contact with each other in connection with the proposed APC. They are also inviting other opposition parties, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to make it a greater success.

The writer is of the considered view that the participants of the APC would be doing a great service to Islam by coming up with suggestions for the government to resolve differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The PML-N and the PPP have a good experience of the statecraft as they got many terms to rule the country. If they come up with the ideas that can ensure the victory of Pakistan’s mediatory efforts, they would be lauded by the nation and rewarded by the Lord of the Worlds.

In the prevailing circumstances, this mission should be given more importance than anything else as with it is linked the collective fate of the Ummah.

If they failed to play their role for the success of this greater cause, they would be remembered as the one who was flaunting while Rome was burning.

Knowledgeable sources say that Saudi Arabia wants Pakistan to help it “beat” Iran, something unacceptable for Islamabad. Pakistan, being a neighbour of Iran, cannot take any step against Iran just to please someone, the sources said.

There was a time, the sources said, when Saudi Arabia also wanted Pakistan to stand by it in its war against Yemen. However, the PML-N leadership got a resolution passed from the National Assembly that made it obligatory for Pakistan to maintain its neutrality in Saudi-Yemen tensions.

Islamabad, the sources say, has consistently been assuring Tehran that it would not work against the latter in any situation.

The resolve to maintain impartiality despite tensions between Tehran and Riyadh makes Pakistan’s mediation mission more difficult.  Let’s pray for its success.