A concerned member of global fraternity
Courtesy: S Rahman
Acting like a responsible state and a concerned member of global fraternity, Pakistan has taken timely, effective steps to extricate its citizens from war-torn Yemen and simultaneously sent a high profile civil-military delegation to assess the ground situation for determining Islamabad’s role in case of existential threat to the custodian country of the Islamic faith.
The evacuation activities have been carried out despite several difficulties through air and naval services and also with the help of China. And in addition to sending the passenger planes and naval vessel, Islamabad has also remained in constant touch with the Pakistanis stranded inside Yemen although they are scattered here and there in different cities and towns. Air traffic protocols have also been followed properly.
The government of Pakistan and its embassy in Yemen had rather given warning to their citizens more than a month back and the Pak authorities were at that time too in a state of complete preparedness for evacuation of their citizens although some of them were not willing to leave Yemen.
As for the question of extending military cooperation to Saudi Arabia, the government is already handling it with dexterity and complete sagacity with focus on both priorities namely the priority of defending the Harmain Sharifain against any sacrifice as well as the priority of no compromise on our foreign policy of non-alignment. Obviously, the latter means not siding with any state against the other. The axis of Islamabad’s foreign policy, as is well known to everyone, has throughout been friendship with all and rivalry with none. This amiable façade of Pakistan has become more pronounced with greater diplomatic connectivity all over the world as pursued with vigour by Nawaz Sharif government.
If the world of today including Saudi Arabia (or other countries) is looking toward Pakistan for playing a role, it is because of the diplomatic say that the government of the day has been able to build up in the world capitals because of, inter alia, two main reasons – economic progress and success in war against terrorism courtesy the bold decisions taken by Pakistan’s top leadership in consonance with the resolve of country’s valiant armed forces and their top brass.
It is, however, unfortunate that certain foreign quarters and media have unleashed unsubstantiated propaganda by design to paint Pakistan black as if this responsible country had any aggressive agenda. This is all rubbish. There is no doubt Islamabad’s ties with Riyadh are at their highest ebb and they ought to be given the fact that Saudi Arabia houses the holiest and the most revered places of the entire Islamic world, the Holy Kaaba and Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s mausoleum. In case the need arises for defending these most worshipped places in extreme danger or when there is existential threat, it will be just like defending the centre of Islamic faith and every single Muslim of the world has no two opinions on this point.
Some well-informed people, however, opine that the visits of Saudi intelligence functionaries and of some other Saudi dignitaries on certain occasions till the recent past indicate that there have been reports about existential threat to Saudi Arabia although these reports have not yet been made public for obvious reasons.
But, whatever the situation that is likely to emerge in the hours – or days to come (as things are taking shape quite rapidly) it is totally wrong to expect of Pakistan to play the role of a war-monger or that of taking sides for one against the other. There is lot of difference between defending the holiest places of Muslims in case of existential threat and being an offensive-initiating aggressor or ally of an aggressor.
Pakistan’s responsible and mature conduct is quite evident from its foreign policy and from its commitment to peaceful co-existence with all including its neighbours. It is also pertinent to mention that the civil-military delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif comprised defence officials holding key positions in the country’s armed forces. These security functionaries are known for their right calculations and assessments. Their mission would rather lead to wise and discreet decisions on the part of Islamabad that would ultimately yield better results in the larger interest of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the region and the entire Islamic world.
Pakistan can also play the fire-fighting role and use its clout and connections on all sides to assuage tensions and conflicts. Those who are painting it unjustifiably as a war of sects of the Muslim Ummah or as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran are doing it intentionally to create schisms and divisions within the Islamic fraternity.
Can these propagandists and anti-Muslim unity elements answer one question which is: Can any Islamic country including Iran ever think of seeing the holiest places of Muslims turning into shambles? Likewise, can Saudi Arabia or any other Islamic country of the world see the destruction of the holy shrines of some family members of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) descendants in Iran and its surroundings?