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Pakistani women line up to receive charity food in Islamabad last October. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)

The Arab World And The Pakistani Issue

Al-Etihad, UAE, March 3

The UAE made an important diplomatic achievement last week by helping contain the severe crisis that unfolded between India and Pakistan. The intervention of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, played a pivotal role in saving South Asia from a devastating and imminent conflict. The successful UAE move followed an important visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Pakistan, which resulted in the signing of economic agreements worth 20 billion dollars and the enhancement of Riyadh’s loans to Islamabad. This enabled the new Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, to overcome the serious financial crisis he faced when he came to power last August. It is clear that the Saudi-Emirati approach to support Pakistan falls within the vital Arab interest in a stronger relationship with this great Asian Islamic power situated in the midst of the Eurasian sphere. While Pakistan’s regional conflict with India has been the focus of its foreign policy, Islamabad has oscillated between two distinct camps: the US, on one hand, and China, on the other. The American war on terrorism gradually led to a quagmire of regional crises and pushed Pakistan closer to the latter. Hence, we recognize the importance of the Pakistani component in the new Silk Road, which China has developed. The Pakistani corridor is a crucial bridge between land and sea routes in Eurasia. The Arab embrace of Pakistan is meant to strengthen Islamabad and ensure the government’s stability. This means encouraging the country’s moderate political forces that are currently led by Prime Minister Khan to continue working to rehabilitate the Pakistani economy and play a vital role among South Asian countries. It also means doing everything we can to contain Pakistan’s long-standing dispute with India, which remains an essential and indispensable ally of all Gulf countries and the Arab world, more broadly. – Ould Abah

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