Pakistan must uphold national interests viz ME tensions

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to devise a rational, comprehensive and well-thought out strategy keeping in view its domestic, political and economic interests in the wake of the fast deteriorating situation in the Middle East after the assassination of top Iran geo-strategist, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US air strike in Iraq. However, the country cannot be a mere onlooker in the worsening situation and it needs to be proactive in creating solutions as a mediator, says a Press release.
These views were expressed by experts during a roundtable meeting titled ‘Emerging Dynamics in the Middle East: Implications and Options for Pakistan’, which was held at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, on Friday.
The session was addressed by Ambassador (Retd) Abrar Hussain, Ambassador (Retd) Naila Chauhan, Pakistan former ambassador to Iran, Khalid Rahman, Executive President IPS, Air Commodore (Retd) Khalid Banuri, Air Commodore (Retd) Khalid Iqbal, Dr Syed Muhammad Ali, executive director, Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSP), Dr Bakare Najimdeen, director, Centre for International Peace and Stability at National Defence University and senior IPS associate and security analyst Brigadier (Retd) Said Nazir Mohmand.
The speakers were unanimous in their views that the biggest threat faced by Pakistan at the moment was the military deployment at its western border by India and the worsening situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. Hence it was not in the interest of Pakistan to shift its military and strategic focus from Kashmir and all policy options regarding the Middle East crisis should be weighed in in this context.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s current economic condition is not very bright and it is heavily dependent on remittances by expatriates as well as its energy requirements from the Middle East. Keeping in mind these factors, Pakistan is not in a position to take sides in the current conflict. Therefore, it will be wise and prudent for the country to stay neutral and maintain a low-key profile, they added.
Pakistan, however, can play a diplomatic role in de-escalating the situation while staying in the background. Historically, it has been a fundamental part of Pakistan’s foreign policy to play the role of mediator whenever there is escalation of tension between Muslim countries. So if tensions rise further between the US and Iran, it will be best for Pakistan to play a back-channel role, advising both sides to practice restraint and extend its apprehensions regarding the situation of human rights as well that of regional and global peace to all the relevant stakeholders.
It should also be conveyed that if the conflict does expand, it will cause significant disturbances in the Middle East because of crisscrossing alliances in the region. The Gulf states should not participate in any escalation in the region, because ultimately they will suffer, the speakers said.
The experts also viewed that all-out war between the US and Iran will prolong the stay of American military in Afghanistan. This will have repercussions for Pakistan as this will force the country to stay committed on the western front, rather than focusing on its eastern border, they said.ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to devise a rational, comprehensive and well-thought out strategy keeping in view its domestic, political and economic interests in the wake of the fast deteriorating situation in the Middle East after the assassination of top Iran geo-strategist, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US air strike in Iraq. However, the country cannot be a mere onlooker in the worsening situation and it needs to be proactive in creating solutions as a mediator, says a Press release.
These views were expressed by experts during a roundtable meeting titled ‘Emerging Dynamics in the Middle East: Implications and Options for Pakistan’, which was held at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, on Friday.
The session was addressed by Ambassador (Retd) Abrar Hussain, Ambassador (Retd) Naila Chauhan, Pakistan former ambassador to Iran, Khalid Rahman, Executive President IPS, Air Commodore (Retd) Khalid Banuri, Air Commodore (Retd) Khalid Iqbal, Dr Syed Muhammad Ali, executive director, Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSP), Dr Bakare Najimdeen, director, Centre for International Peace and Stability at National Defence University and senior IPS associate and security analyst Brigadier (Retd) Said Nazir Mohmand.
The speakers were unanimous in their views that the biggest threat faced by Pakistan at the moment was the military deployment at its western border by India and the worsening situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. Hence it was not in the interest of Pakistan to shift its military and strategic focus from Kashmir and all policy options regarding the Middle East crisis should be weighed in in this context.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s current economic condition is not very bright and it is heavily dependent on remittances by expatriates as well as its energy requirements from the Middle East. Keeping in mind these factors, Pakistan is not in a position to take sides in the current conflict. Therefore, it will be wise and prudent for the country to stay neutral and maintain a low-key profile, they added.
Pakistan, however, can play a diplomatic role in de-escalating the situation while staying in the background. Historically, it has been a fundamental part of Pakistan’s foreign policy to play the role of mediator whenever there is escalation of tension between Muslim countries. So if tensions rise further between the US and Iran, it will be best for Pakistan to play a back-channel role, advising both sides to practice restraint and extend its apprehensions regarding the situation of human rights as well that of regional and global peace to all the relevant stakeholders.
It should also be conveyed that if the conflict does expand, it will cause significant disturbances in the Middle East because of crisscrossing alliances in the region. The Gulf states should not participate in any escalation in the region, because ultimately they will suffer, the speakers said.
The experts also viewed that all-out war between the US and Iran will prolong the stay of American military in Afghanistan. This will have repercussions for Pakistan as this will force the country to stay committed on the western front, rather than focusing on its eastern border, they said.