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September 20, 2019

Yet another challenge

Opinion

September 20, 2019

The mysterious drone attacks on strategic oil installations in Saudi Arabia have made the already vulnerable Middle East tense. This situation has not only affected the oil supply to the world but price hikes are also being observed in the international market.

According to media reports, the Yemen-based Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, the US accused Iran immediately after the incident. A few months ago, oil tankers of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway were also targeted at the UAE port.

In this regional scenario, various global powers are also playing a critical role. If, at one end, the United States continues to threaten Iran then on the other end, Russia is firmly with Iran. However, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and other countries are in favour of peaceful solution. The silence of Muslim countries over various issues has proved that the so-called representative OIC has lost its effectiveness.

Iran has categorically denied being involved in the Saudi Arabia oil installations attacks. Following latest Indian aggression in Occupied Kashmir, this recent tense situation in the Middle East is leading Pakistan towards yet another critical and sensitive challenge on the diplomatic front.

Due to our unique geo-strategic position, both Saudi Arabia and Iran may seek Pakistan's help to support their stance. However, the current regional situation requires us to take a wise diplomatic step.

Historical facts disclose that superpowers, in order to fulfill their own vested interests, used to ignite fire during regional conflicts, which resulted not only in a flourishing weapons industry but later also led to these superpowers portraying themselves as saviours.

The Middle East has always faced war over the occupation of oil reservoirs. During the era of the Shah, Iran was considered America's policeman in the region, but after the Iranian revolution, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein emerged as America’s favourite ruler. Iran and Iraq also encountered a purposeless war resulting in the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Ironically, the Kuwait invasion transformed Saddam Hussein as the worst enemy of America.

On the basis of such bitter historical facts, I believe that the Middle East is currently on the edge of a proper world war. Without Pakistani cooperation, it is very tough, if not impossible, for Saudi Arabia and the United States to take any extreme action against Iran. On the diplomatic front, the Iranian parliament has taken a laudable step by passing a resolution in favour of the oppressed people of Kashmir.

However, we also need to adopt a careful approach towards the US offer of being a mediator in the Kashmir issue. In my view, America always makes deals on the basis of a give and take policy, while giving priority to its own interests. There are chances that America may demand something particular from Pakistan before playing the role of mediator for Kashmir, enforcing Musharaf’s formula of accepting the LoC as a permanent border without giving Kashmiri people the right of self-determination.

Every issue of the world can be resolved through dialogue. Aggression only increases hatred, extremism and violence. Keeping this in view, it is my sincere advice to the world leadership to resolve their conflicts through bilateral dialogue without involving any third party.

The United Nation General Assembly session is scheduled to be held next week. I believe that on this important occasion all country heads should engage one-on-one meetings to ensure world peace. We must not forget that if third world war would starts then it can engulf the entire planet.

Being Pakistani, our immediate focus should be on Occupied Kashmir and elimination of terrorism from the Pak-Afghan border. Pakistan should play a neutral and positive role towards the Middle East conflict and we should avoid becoming part of any new war.

The writer is a member of the NationalAssembly and patron-in-chief of thePakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani

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