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Saudi Arabia an eternal partner and worthy Ally

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The outburst by Shah Mehmood Qureshi was not his brain child it must have been deliberated with concerned people therefore it is not fair to criticise him as if he was the pioneer to propose to establish a separate OIC. But it is equally true he could have done it in a different way conveying same feelings. Undoubtedly recent changes in different alliances and change in political scenario after COVID 19 was anticipated and we should have prepared ourselves accordingly. But how can we break the tradition of considering the issues only on occurrence. We have witnessed war of words between US and China that was a good indicator for us but we did not bother. Nevertheless it has been intelligently handled by China leadership unlike Trump who is always blunt unpredictable and sometimes off track. Any country that suffers disunity within own country and economically dependent on loans has to move cautiously by taking everybody on board at least to show the world that nation is on one page whereas in Pakistan distances are widening with each passing day
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has long history of fraternal relationship irrespective of rulers of both countries.KSA has throughout provided huge financial support whenever it was needed apart from giving cheap oil, easy term loans and aid in meeting our economic needs.KSA has always taken care of Pakistan’s needs equally during dictatorial regimes and civilian rulers that’s why we call KSA as all weather friend. Pakistan in turn has always helped KSA by sending troops to safeguard interests of KSA. Our heart beats at the same frequency because Saudi is custodian of two holy mosques. Pakistan always supported Saudi on all international forums. We have always enjoyed excellent relations with our neighbour Iran but due to Iran’s rivalry with KSA affected our relations with Iran as we failed to handle the issue properly. Our problem started when Pakistan refused to help KSA on Yemen issue. It must be clarified here that government was ready to toe the line of KSA but it was strong opposition by people of Pakistan that Pakistan regretted to come out openly but promised to help in protecting the sovereignty of the kingdom whenever it was needed. Nevertheless we spared Gen Reheel to assume the command of unified force in Saudi Arabia.
The trouble started when FM of Pakistan lashed out on KSA in an unusually sharp tone asked Saudi Arabia led OIC early this month to stop delay on the convening of a meeting of its council of foreign ministers on Kashmir and threatened if you cannot convene it, then I will be compelled to ask IK to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris. There was immediate reaction by the Saudi Arabia and they terminated its loan and oil supply to Pakistan. This has been a rather harsh retaliation not welcomed by Pakistan. It is true that FM statement was in bad taste but the Riyadh response has equally been disappointing, that’s not the way traditional friends behave so immaturely.FM has been criticised at home by opposition parties and intellectuals. It has certainly been poor handling of the issue by our FM when we badly need foreign assistance to run the affairs of the country, wisdom lies in controlling emotions that was lacking. How could Saudi be so indifferent on Kashmir, what was the hurry. In any case Kashmir issue is lingering on since partition. The world is silent on Kashmir so is the OIC, we could have waited for few days. Another blunder was to send Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI in an attempt to mend damaged ties on journey of purely political nature, was wrong and hurried step and the result has been unpleasant. Meanwhile Shirin Mazari publicly criticised SMQ and termed his statement against Kashmiris and Imran Khan. Statement of Shirin Mazari was highly objectionable and her outbursts against foreign office is totally uncalled for, unjustified and untimely, against interest of state, against its own government, and against PM IK, it has done so much harm shall take some time to repair it. No individual including PM can have his own independent policy, it is always the foreign office that prepares policy statements after thorough deliberations and is subject to modifications on the given input by the PM. Her personal attacks on our diplomats like staying in hotels and wearing three piece suits and conveying that FO, PM are not on one page on Kashmir policy is ill conceived absurd and must be condemned. Quoting an example of Burkina Fosa is irrelevant as it had the support of 54 African countries on the other hand our cabinet is split on major issue of Kashmir, how can she talk about international support, her statement has virtually shut doors of diplomacy on Kashmir issue and international support. Such statement by Dr Shirin Mazari is uncalled for and coming from a woman of literature demonizes the whole foreign policy effort of the government. I am consistently amazed at the political poverty of PTI ministers who continue to challenge their own party policies publicly. What is their problem? IK should take a strict view of this separatist politics with in his own party and all those indulge in it must be shown the door. Safeguarding national interest is our moral obligation and must be protected at all times and try to fit in to current situation. It appears Pakistan has picked up courage and has conveyed to the world now would like to stand on our own feet, of course financial assistance from anywhere specially from KSA is our need and is always welcome but not at the cost of disrespect. Effort must be made to mend the damage and this should not escalate as it may further damage the fragile OIC unity that is what the enemy wants
Lastly, I would like to say that a countrys foreign policy is as good or bad as its domestic political condition. To be able to execute strong foreign policy we need to be a self sustaining and powerful nation. Achieving this would need time and foing this requires taking small calculated steps to rebuild our image. We cannot afford to annoy our partners and friends. Whatever the Islamic blocks that are taking shape we need to treat carefully and not join one at the cost of other. Saudi Arabia is an ally and friend and that must hold ground.