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Thread: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan make a difficult triangle….

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  1. #21
    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Pakistan to string Saudia - Iran relations: Sartaj Aziz

    Pakistan is living a dream.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Pakistan to string Saudia - Iran relations: Sartaj Aziz

    Pakistan might first try and string itself together -- Charity, after all, begins at home or ought to anyway.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Pakistan to string Saudia - Iran relations: Sartaj Aziz

    Pakistanis really believe anyone will listen to them? Stupidity alive here.

  4. #24
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    Pakistan's standing; It should use her power to balance affairs b/w GCC and Iran

    Pakistan is a strange country. I say this not in a negative sense, but because I'm simply baffled. Almost 67 years have passed since its geographical inception on 14 August 1947. To date, the country is still going through a wave of internal turmoil.

    Factually speaking, Pakistan is still the only nuclear-armed Muslim state in the world. It is both a source of power and subsequently, equally greater responsibility. It is this robust defence and security structure of Pakistan which lends credence to its influential position in regional affairs, particularly in the MENA and South Asian zones.

    In the perspective of Muslim/Islamic states, Pakistan has enjoyed cordial and oft-times turbulent relations with all, especially ideological archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia. Successive governments in Pakistan, irrespective of their specific predominant leanings, have made sure they do not disrupt the equilibrium of ties with these two countries. It is for this reason several academics in the field of international relations have dubbed Pakistan as a country which has the power to balance affairs between these disputing states by acting as a sort of "third party mediator".

    However, the situation changed especially because of the so-called "Arab Spring". The toppling of regimes previously considered legitimate by segments of people in MENA paved the way for a free-for-all loot bazar in which Saudi Arabia and Iran took turns to establish their ideological dominance, both overtly and covertly. We have seen in the case of Syria how Riyadh and Tehran both have waged their wars on foreign soil. This is the modus operandi of these countries who ironically accuse "foreign elements" trying to sabotage their own peace and stability. The only comment which one can make on this is, "As you sow, so shall you reap!".

    The "awakening" movements took place elsewhere as well, including Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. Egypt has managed to control this transformation courtesy of its powerful military.

    In Pakistan, although the ouster of Morsi did trigger a nationwide resentment visible in the form of protests, etc. mostly by a mainstream politico-religious party, it never really instigated a particular sectarian community. This is because Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan both were mostly in favor of Morsi and more so angry towards a "dictator" (referring to Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi). This is primarily because a majority of Pakistanis still resent the dictatorships which took over in their own country. Moreover, Iran and Saudi Arabia both supported Morsi in principle until Saudi Arabia got a whiff of the fact that Morsi was still a mere puppet for the Muslim Brotherhood which Riyadh sees as a threat (it's ally Qatar believes otherwise).

    But anyhow, that phase came and passed by without must disruption. However, Syria's case is totally different: It is an Arab country, yes, but one with an Alawite (Shia) government led by Bashar al-Assad with an opposition comprising Sunnis and Wahhabis. Something similar is taking place in Sunni-led Bahrain where the Shias are revolting against the Sunni regime in Manama. In both cases, Arab Gulf states and Iran are battling out their ideologies to take control over pieces of land.

    Pakistan has always been demonized for not allaying concerns of Arab Gulf states and Iran. Perhaps no other country has been this mishandled than Pakistan, not even Lebanon. Pakistan's social structure comprises of powerful, educated and influential Sunnis, Wahhabis and Shias, besides people of other schools of thought and religions/beliefs. What Pakistan has failed to properly establish is its national identity. It is indeed proclaimed through speeches and documents but the reality is very grim. Fact is, because of this identity vacuum, one which could provide a unifying force for the populace, the only factor which Pakistanis adhere to next is a uniquely perplexing web of politico-socio-economic-sectarian beliefs.

    This is why there are two predominant, opposing geopolitical camps in Pakistan: One that is pro-Gulf and another that is pro-Iran. The debate has been raging for hours on end on domestic media about why the mysterious aid was given by an unnamed Arab country to Pakistan ($1.5 billion). The pro-Iran camp in Pakistan is head over heels not only on this particular issue, but also on the surprise visit of the King of Bahrain. Similarly, the pro-Gulf lobby in Pakistan expressed resentment over Iran's growing relations with Pakistan, especially regarding the IP Gas Pipeline deal.

    Pakistan has emphasized time and again that it will never take sides on the Syrian crisis, and rightly so. Analysts consider this another Foreign Office bluff, but I believe the diplomatic corps is fully aware of the fact that if any specific policy favoring either the Arab or Iranian camp is promoted or adopted, then it will have massive ramifications back home. Considering the already-grave internal security situation, Islamabad is playing its card with utmost care.

    What has particularly caught my attention is a recent statement by the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammad al-Khalifa, who said, “Since Pakistan is an influential country, we believe it can play a key role in improving bilateral ties between Iran and Gulf countries, including Bahrain". He also added that Bahrain desires a 'political solution' to the Syrian crisis and wants Pakistan's help in resolving the issue in accordance with the Geneva process.
    This is a welcome statement and reveals that the GCC countries are possibly betting on utilizing the diplomatic expertise of Islamabad to settle out disputes with Tehran, especially on the Syrian and Bahraini/Yemeni fronts. Tehran presently enjoys cordial ties with Oman, quite a neutral Arab state under the headship of Sultan Qaboos, a monarch who has kept himself well aloof of regional disputes. I believe that with Pakistan, the country of Oman can also work out differences between Gulf states and Iran.

    Anyhow, coming back to Pakistan, the dilemma of this country is that its mainstream analysts are causing unnecessary division in the Pakistani society through the print and electronic media.
    If I am a Sunni or Wahhabi, I will naturally incline towards an anti-Iran bias and similarly, if I am a Shia, I will maintain an anti-Arab bias. This mode of thinking needs to be eliminated once and for all, most urgently in Pakistan. We are a country that, despite the tremendous odds, is one of the most influential and powerful Muslim states both diplomatically and militarily. Politico-socio-economic issues will be resolved one day soon and that can only be ensured if we maintain a mature and friendly posture towards all states which concern us directly or indirectly. Hence, be it Arab Gulf states or Iran, Pakistan needs to play the role of a big brother.
    Recommendation

    My personal suggestion, though one that will certainly raise many eyebrows, is to have an advisory committee operating for the government which consists of policy analysts with equal representation of Sunni, Shia and Wahhabi scholars. These analysts will analyze relations with Turkey, Iran, Arab Gulf states, etc. based on group-wise understanding, deduce commonly-agreed recommendations and principles then share them with the government in charge. In short, this group will be a sort of 'National Islamic Committee for Foreign Affairs'.

    In my view, this is the most plausible means of including all influential sectarian stakeholders and taking their collective advice on the most effective do's and don'ts of dealing with Islamic/Muslim countries in particular and regional countries in general.


    http://www.terminalx.org/2014/03/dd-...#ixzz2xHP3s1o7
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  5. #25
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    Re: Pakistan's standing; It should use her power to balance affairs b/w GCC and Iran

    This article is a more accurate standing of Pakistan, and how it is perceived in the Muslim world. It is looked upon by many Muslim countries as well, but it needs to figure out its policies, get clarity on them, rather than just selling itself to the highest bidder at the expense of its national security interests.

  6. #26
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    Analysis: Pakistan and Iran: Friends or foes?

    AS Pakistan and Iran squabble over the fate of the latter’s recently abducted border guards, Islamabad’s security establishment is confronted with an almost nightmarish question.

    Following Iran’s claims that the kidnapped guards were brought to Pakistan, does Islamabad face the deeply troubling possibility of its only secure frontier with Iran joining the ranks of other frontlines which remain insecure? The answer to that riddle may set the pace for a key foreign relationship and perhaps provide a sense on future internal security trends.

    Historically, Pakistan has always looked upon its 1,200km frontier with Iran with a sense of relative comfort, notwithstanding Islamabad’s repeated and heavy confrontation with separatists in Balochistan.

    Under Iran’s former Pahlavi dynasty, swept away by the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iranian helicopter gunships joined the Pakistan Army’s attacks against separatists holed up in remote parts of Balochistan’s treacherous terrain.

    To date, it is the only known example of a foreign military force coming to join Pakistan’s internal battle against separatists, and that too during the depressing days after the fall of Dhaka. That Iranian gesture paved the way for Pakistan’s military victory over Baloch separatists and helped to keep the country’s former western half together.

    In sharp contrast to the comfort of yesteryear surrounding the Iranian border, Pakistan’s eastern frontline and a maritime southern boundary are both surrounded by India’s considerably larger land and naval presence. Additionally, Pakistan is forced to maintain a constant watch on its northern frontlines with Afghanistan and India — barring a slice of land with China being the only comfort zone in the Himalayas.

    It is therefore hardly surprising that Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, the chief minister of Balochistan, considers “any deterioration in our relations with Iran as a matter of major concern”. Dr Baloch, a veteran politician who spoke this week to this writer, has good reason to be worried.

    Provincial officials in Quetta speak of at least a couple of instances every month when Iranian border forces fire a few rockets in Pakistan’s territory — ostensibly to target Iran’s opponents who the Iranians say operate from Pakistan’s soil in Balochistan. While Islamabad denies the presence of abducted Iranian guards on its soil, Pakistan’s position is no better than semi-tenable. Reports of an emotional backlash across Iran over the abduction of the guards have coincided with unconfirmed reports of Iranian forces under orders to strike at will inside Pakistan’s territory if they find proof of anti-Iran hardcore members on Pakistan’s soil. Even if such orders never translate into reality, Tehran’s mere decision to reach such a conclusion must trouble decision-makers in Islamabad.

    At the same time, just as it takes two to tango, Iran cannot justifiably hold only Pakistan responsible for its sliding security conditions. A number of reports from Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province on Pakistan’s border speak of unsettled conditions on the Iranian side of the border.

    Clearly, Shia-majority Iran is yet to bring peace to a part of its own country where the majority are Sunnis, in contrast to the majority of Iranians being Shias. The dwellers of Sistan-Baluchestan clearly feel left out of the Iranian mainstream and need to be pacified.

    Ultimately, however, Pakistan can ill afford an aimless new confrontation on its only secure border which may one day demand the deployment of more forces on the frontlines, as if Pakistan’s forces weren’t already over-stretched. The reported killing of one of the border guards has not helped to pacify the strains.

    These tensions have coincided with recent reports of Pakistan’s discussions with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to dispatch uniformed or formerly uniformed troops to help the two states meet their security challenges. Notwithstanding Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s refusal to name the ‘friendly country’ which recently gave a staggering $1.5 billion to fill Pakistan’s depleting coffers, an overwhelming number of Pakistanis believe that the funds came from Saudi Arabia. While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government insists that it is not about to dispatch troops to serve on a foreign soil, scepticism is visible all around.

    Against this background, relations with Iran need to be put through a firm salvage operation. Mr Sharif’s government must try to be equidistant from Riyadh and Tehran as a matter of top priority for Pakistan’s foreign policy. A gesture such as a high-profile visit to Tehran by the prime minister could help build up a more positive image around this relationship than the present one.

    Known security commentators such as retired Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum even go as far as suggesting that Pakistan must “try to bridge the gap between Saudi Arabia and Iran. That would be a great service”.

    While breaking the ice between Riyadh and Tehran could be far-fetched, Pakistan could at least work more aggressively to protect its very obvious interests.

    In Quetta, a particularly telling example of the bloodshed that has engulfed Pakistan lies no further than the ‘Behesht-i-Zainab’ graveyard, the main final resting place for members of the mostly Hazara community of Shias in that region who were killed in sectarian violence.

    Once a large sprawling stretch of land, the graveyard has begun to shrink in size with the growing demand for graves. Iran has protested sectarian killings in the past, though this is a matter which must become central to a narrative by Islamabad for securing its own interests.

    In the words of a notable leader of the Hazara community, “You have to live our ordeal to know what it’s like. There are mohallahs [neighbourhoods] where someone has been martyred from every second or third home.”

    Mr Baloch believes that ending the radicalization that has evolved in Pakistan over the past three decades and threatens to break the country apart, requires long overdue social reforms. Clearly, this is the vital domestic policy angle which must be followed in tandem with the country’s foreign relations, especially given that the growing number of Pakistan’s radicalised youth will only reinforce the country’s image as a haven for terrorists. While setting the pace for a more cordial relationship with Iran is vital for Pakistan in the short term, the long-term stability of this country must depend on tackling radical trends through sustainable policies.

    Farhan Bokhari is an Islamabad-based journalist who writes on politics, economy and security issues

    http://www.dawn.com/news/1096598/ana...riends-or-foes

  7. #27
    Member Shahabuddin Khurram Javed's Avatar
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    Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's main opposition party is demanding a transparent discussion in parliament over the origins of $1.5 billion paid into the country's coffers in March, and what the government agreed to in exchange for the funds.

    The money is widely believed to have come from Saudi Arabia -- a donation aimed at cementing a new and potentially controversial security deal with the nuclear armed south Asian country.

    Pakistan's liquid foreign currency reserves unexpectedly swelled to about $9.5 billion dollars in early March. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government has refused to name the country which provided the funds, saying only that it came from a "friendly Islamic country" to support Pakistan's weak economy.

    Officials at Pakistan's central bank confirmed that the money came from Saudi Arabia, and the government's opponents want a full explanation.


    Pakistan's Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif attends the opening session of a Nuclear Summit in The Hague
    Pakistan's Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif attends the opening session of a Nuclear Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, March 24, 2014. AP
    Sharif's refusal to be more transparent on the terms of the Saudi cash infusion has only fueled skepticism over the motives behind it.
    Defense experts note Pakistan's long security relationship with Saudi Arabia, which in the past has seen Islamabad deploy troops to the kingdom.

    "In the 1980s, Pakistani troops served in places like Tabuk (in Saudi Arabia) and the (Pakistani) troops served in Saudi uniforms. That deployment was part of Pakistan's defense agreement with Saudi Arabia," explains defense analyst Farooq Hameed Khan, a retired Brigadier in the Pakistani army. "There is nothing new about Pakistan having a defense agreement with Saudi Arabia which involves Pakistani troops serving there."

    Khan says the current scandal springs from reports which circulated last month suggesting a new agreement between the two countries is focused on Pakistan helping the Saudis bolster the opposition fighting forces in Syria, and -- either in tandem or by default -- shoring up Sunni Muslim ally Saudi Arabia in its regional standoff with Shiite-majority Iran. The problem is that Iran is Pakistan's neighbor, and also a nation with which Islamabad has enjoyed relatively cordial relations.

    "The danger now is of Pakistan getting caught in a Saudi-Iranian turf war," one opposition lawmaker, who didn't want to be named, told CBS News.

    Khursheed Shah, leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in the lower house of parliament, known as the National Assembly, says it is an issue he and his fellow lawmakers "need to discuss," adding that in his party's view, "Pakistan should not provide weapons or troops (to Saudi Arabia)."

    Though Shah gave the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt, accepting a statement from Sharif insisting the money is not tied to any commitment to send troops to oil-rich Saudi, other PPP members and some diplomats in the region remain unconvinced.

    The concerns are driven by more than three decades of uncomfortable relations between Saudi Arabia, where the ruling family and vast majority of residents are Sunni, and Iran, where the ruling clerics and vast majority of residents are of the Shiite sect of Islam.

    The two powerful countries have sought to increase their influence in the region, including in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in part by pouring huge sums of money into all levels of society, from government right down to local Islamic organizations of the same sectarian leaning.

    And while the money from Saudi "may help boost Pakistan's finances in the short term," respected Pakistani security and political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi says it "carries the risk of dividing Pakistan internally."

    An estimated 20 to 30 percent of Pakistan's total population (of about 200 million) is Shiite Muslim. Almost all other Pakistanis belong to the Sunni sect -- only one or two percent of the population is non-Muslim.

    "This is a very, very delicate situation for Pakistan," said the Western diplomat in Islamabad. "It would be very difficult for the Pakistani government to remain friends with Saudi Arabia and Iran at the same time."


    Credits: cbsnews.com
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  8. #28
    Elite Member sparkling's Avatar
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    I think we already are caught up in the crossfire to some extent and Sharif has played his part stupidly in my opinion

  9. #29
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    It would be a disaster we must avoid at all cost
    “Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
    - Carl von Clausewitz

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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    Shareefs head is severely up the backsides of the Saudis and has literally sold himself (and the nation) to them. We ought to take more of a neutral stance and not get dragged into conflict.

  11. #31
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    We have to be neutral, and before first we have to root our inner menace out, so other nations and countries couldn't take benefits from our internal differences, whether its sect, Languages, Religion, Region etc. As Shiat sect is also in rising, and holding all key posts from Banks to big corporate and government. So 1 way or other we should not be dived on to other's wars otherwise will bring their wars into our lands. and for securing other Islamic Nations, should have a pact same as per Nato, and including Russia and China as Regional player so safety and Nuclear backed deterrence....
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  12. #32
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha1 View Post
    It would be a disaster we must avoid at all cost
    With the likes of Sharif we are already facing the disaster. He is thick as a plank imo

  13. #33
    Member AhsanAmin's Avatar
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    The author has said a very good thing that we must not be a party in Saudi-Iran conflict. Here is what I wrote about it when the Saudi Prince arrived in Pakistan, a little while ago.
    As a Pakistani, I think we should maintain as cordial relationships with Saudi Arabia as possible, without sacrificing our interests as a country. A lrage number of Pakistanis work in SA, and it is a major source of remittances that help us maintain working level of foreign exchange reserves despite huge trade deficit in our international trade. We know, in the past, that Saudis might have also given us oil on credit. But it will be more advantageous to build on existing good relationship between two countries to invite their influential business people to invest in possible opportunities and projects in Pakistan. And explore possibilities of cooperation between large firms in Saudi Arabia and firms in Pakistan that have a good reputation and are going to be easily trusted by foreigners. Once a few joint projects become successful and profitable, far more investment will surely follow. We have seen investment by SA in some public enterprises in the past, but a pattern of successful joint investment on various projects will follow as a result of cooperation mostly between private sector firms of the two countries, so some sort of effort has to be made to initiate joint projects here. Really a phenomenon of foreign investment in our country’s industry will result only if some industrial and manufacturing projects become very successful, and foreigners realize that investing in related industries is indeed very profitable and they can also run successful industrial ventures in Pakistan following the footsteps of those foreigners who have already invested here with success.

    We also have to request Saudis to help us control the flow of money that helps people commit sectarian crimes, and should have some laws that charity and related donations into our country from foreigners are properly documented and there has to be some reasonable degree of accountability about how that money gets spent. A lot of foreign money in our poor country is a reason for many many problems most Pakistanis do not like in our country.

    Another related issue is that we must not forget is that relations with Iran must be developed as it is natural for two neighboring countries. For example, In a little more than a decade, trade between Turkey and Iran has increased roughly by twenty five times. And benefits of trade between Pakistan and Iran would exceed, within a few years, the benefits from any foreign assistance we get from foreign countries opposed to good economic relationship between two neighbors. It is just that it is difficult for us to take the hard decisions that might result in a short time pain but far more benefit in the future. It would also be right to ask the foreign powers that Turkey can trade with Iran despite being a part of NATO, why can we not have good relations with Iran and others simultaneously. We do not want to part of any block or ally against any third country since being part of negative international politics will only hurt our country.

    And I truly do not understand why the new government does not work on pipeline to import gas from Iran. Any delay in sourcing energy from Iran hurts our country’s economy. If only we had completed this project five years ago, the benefit to our country might have exceeded any foreign aid, but we continue to shoot ourself in the foot, and do not even realize how we are damaging our country by not realizing our own potential, and fear that some foreign aid will be forfeited if we take the right steps for our country, and this general thinking of our nation continues to hurt us.

    When it comes to international relations, we have to make sure we are not working against any third country due to our proximity to some other friend. And we have to realize that it could be possible only if we are economically strong but we still have to ask donor countries that we would honestly safeguard their right interests related to terrorism and other right human concerns, but we will not support them in alienating any third country at all or make alliance against that country, because being part of negative international politics will always hurt us in the future and this will be extremely short sighted of our leaders today, and we will unwittingly damage our country’s economy and integrity. Only if we had learnt this a few decades ago, we might have been far more well off economically.

    Since we had a discussion of foreign policy, I thought may be I could give some more ideas about foreign policy of our country and we could have some more discussion about it.

    As I think, prosperity and better future of any country in today’s world depends upon three most important and very basic requirements. These factors that can shape the good future of any country are peace and order, trade with rest of the world, and giving good and right skills to its citizens. How any country, culture or region can promote and succeed in implementing the fine details of the above of these factors in their country, determines the prosperity of that country or area.

    So one thing we have to truly consider in making our foreign policy is that we have to promote peace, at least, in our part of the world and anything that takes any country in the region, our friends or countries we traditionally consider our foes, towards any conflict or instability, has to be avoided and rather actively discouraged by our foreign policy. And it also means that state tries to promote very good relations with all neighbors, and promotes stability and prosperity in all those countries including India, Iran and Afghanistan. And actively uses its foreign policy to prevent anything in these countries or rest of the world that could result in any conflict in the region.

    Most natural trading partners of any country are those countries bordering it. Prosperity in neighboring countries, generally, means that there would be more chances and opportunities for trade with these countries, implying that it would generally result in more economic activity within our own country. Our largest trading partners are America, Europe and Gulf countries because of more prosperity in those countries, and of course, it would be natural to retain and increase the trade with these countries using existing linkages, but some emphasis has to be towards trade with our neighbors. Case of most East Asian countries was similar as they grew by exporting mostly to richer nations but now those countries are moving towards increasing trade within East Asian countries. We really do not realize the potential of trade with our neighbors, especially because current trade volumes are usually very small, but if we adopt right policies and foreign relations, our trade with our neighbors can increase to levels comparable to trade with our traditional export markets. This makes a valid case for promoting peace and stability in the region as one of the most important cornerstone of our foreign policy, and slowly and gradually opening to neighboring countries in terms of better trade relations, and ease of travel, at least, for those people whose travel could promote economic, cultural, or educational and scientific ties between the neighbors. And it also makes a case for using our foreign policy to try to discourage activities all over the world to destabilize, or economically hurt our neighbors, while of course simultaneously trying to prevent anything that could encourage our neighbors to enter into any conflict elsewhere.

    Similarly promoting conflict or instabilities among our neighbors will damage us because of related fallout in our own society in form of terrorism, sectarianism and lack of tolerance. And we will be target of antagonistic policies of our neighbors that will follow as a result of our unfriendly policies, and our resources will have to be spent in combating the threat from the hostile enemy as a result of our conflict promoting adverse policies. And we could also truly suffer as a country when some powerful neighbor could possibly damage us in some open or tacit conflict. And the resources we spend in preparing for possible combat would be better spent in educating and giving the right skills to our own population. So this gives us the idea that objective of our foreign policy should be towards truly decreasing hostilities with our neighbors that exist today and promoting better relationship with all of our neighbors so we could decrease the need for unproductive expenses associated with assuring security of our country in the atmosphere of conflict in our region.

    It seems that all of the three factors I mentioned earlier that include peace, trade and right skills for citizens of our country converge and point towards a foreign policy that actively promotes stability and prosperity in the region and we should work with all our neighbors to ensure that we work as closely together as possible to achieve these common goals for the region and try to avoid and prevent any conflict and instability. And only then our geopolitical importance, that has remained geopolitical curse due to constant conflict and hostilities in the region, could result in trade with all other countries in the region and we could also provide trade corridors to Central Asian countries as they also grow richer reviving the memory of silk routes in modern times.
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  14. #34
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    Re: Will Pakistan get caught in "Saudi-Iranian turf war?"

    Quote Originally Posted by AhsanAmin View Post
    The author has said a very good thing that we must not be a party in Saudi-Iran conflict. Here is what I wrote about it when the Saudi Prince arrived in Pakistan, a little while ago.
    Very much agree with your thoughts here
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    Iran-pakistan: Time for realpolitik over riyal politics

    Although the Jaish al-Adl (JA), a terrorist group that primarily operates from Pakistan’s Balochistan and Iran’s Sistan Baluchestan provinces, released four of the five Iranian border guards it had abducted and held captive in Pakistan – there are conflicting reports on the fate of the fifth – questions that need addressing are many.

    The abduction of the border guards sparked tensions between Tehran and Islamabad but the leadership in both Iran and Pakistan ensured that the standoff was limited to a diplomatic row, with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif taking the case to the UN – with the fate of the border guards then still unclear – and despite Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli’s aggressive stance that Iran will “enter the country’s deep territory to establish security.”

    What motivated the JA to free the guards? Did the Iran-Pakistan bilateral relationship play a role? What role did the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia nexus play? Is this standoff fuelled by factors other than the captured border guards?

    Border Issue or a Larger Scheme?

    Pakistan’s border with Iran is the only section of the country’s western frontier – or any frontier – that is relatively less tense. Iran is relatively stricter on its south-eastern border with Pakistan, and for its part, is intolerant of cross-border arms and drugs smuggling as compared to Pakistan. Iran’s reasons may lie within its own territory in Sistan Baluchestan – a restive Sunni-majority state in a Shia majority nation – but regardless, its records vis-à-vis cross-border issues are comparatively cleaner than Pakistan’s, and Islamabad appreciates it.

    To antagonise Tehran will be damaging for Islamabad, for it was with Iranian assistance that the Baloch separatist movement was crushed – a crucial win for Pakistan at that period in history. However, simultaneously, Pakistan does not control all the militant groups running amok in the country, especially the south; and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s inability to control them completely, or do away with sectarian violence meted out to the Shia Muslims in Pakistan have resulted in frustration.

    What Motivated the JA to Release the Guards?

    Islamabad, for the aforementioned reasons, did what it could in the current circumstances of its internal security problems – especially the dillydallying talks with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). However, Pakistan’s sincerity and perseverance were not the only reasons for the JA to release the guards. The JA likely got their motivation for their action from further west. Here, the curious case of ‘friendly grants’ and ‘unconditional gifts’ from one of the most potent players in Pakistani politics, Saudi Arabia, needs attention. With the allegedly Saudi-funded Jundallah having fallen silent, the relatively new Jaish al-Adl seems to be a replacement.

    It is possible that Pakistan successfully managed to negotiate with Saudi Arabia to ensure some form of stability in its southern borders. What Saudi Arabia managed to get in return as its share of the bargain, however, needs some probing; and the likelihood of a further surge in the spread of Wahabi ideology can be expected.

    Furthermore, reports that the guards were released in exchange for Iran’s release of eight JA members from Iran’s Zahedan prison hints at the JA’s negotiating powers. If the funders of the group are in Riyadh or elsewhere in that country – which seems likely – the JA is likely to remain undefeated for a while.

    Iran-Pakistan Relations: Saudi Spoiler

    Islamabad’s cancellation of the Iran-Pakistan ‘Peace Pipeline’ project over dubious reasons, among several others, epitomises the current status of influence the Saudi Riyal has over Pakistan’s foreign policy. The spate of attacks on Pakistan’s Shia and other minority communities can also be attributed to the same factor. Wahabism is on the rise in Pakistan and Islamabad cannot control it; and Rawalpindi will not be too concerned as long as it knows it can handle it.

    This coupled with the reports of Pakistan selling small arms and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia – fuelling debate on the potential of Pakistani munitions being used by the rebels in the Syrian civil war – have only soured Iran-Pakistan relations. Already, Pakistani rebels are reported to be participating in the civil war.

    Iran-Pakistan-Saudi Arabia

    In this backdrop, Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Tehran is significant: it has the potential to either kick-start a new era of bilateral relations, or to ruin it forever. The Iranian parliament’s approval of a bill on cooperating with Pakistan on security issues signals movement in the positive direction. Though the likelihood of success may be bleak, Pakistan must remember that it shares an approximately 900 km-long border with Iran. Furthermore, it needs a friendly Iran standing guard in the post-2014 Afghanistan.

    Riyadh may want to alienate Tehran and Islamabad from each other to meet its own goals, and Pakistan may feel obliged to obey. Iran and Saudi Arabia may not even want to come closer. However, in an event of any form of conflagration between the two, Pakistan will suffer the most casualties. Therefore, practically speaking, Islamabad would benefit from playing mediator between Tehran and Riyadh.

    It is time for realpolitik to take precedence over ‘Riyal politics’.

  16. #36
    Elite Member T-123456's Avatar
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    Re: Iran-pakistan: Time for realpolitik over riyal politics

    You need good diplomats.

  17. #37
    Senior Member Wajid47's Avatar
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    Re: Iran-pakistan: Time for realpolitik over riyal politics

    Quote Originally Posted by T-123456 View Post
    You need good diplomats.
    easier said than done. Our civil servants are on at least par but corrupt politicians too often interfere and dont follow protocols

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