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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Pakistan Facilitates Peace: Imran Khan seeks to mediates Between KSA & Iran

As part of his agenda to broker peace between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be headed to Riyadh later today. He will engage with Saudi leadership after concluding his discussions with the Iranian leadership.

After concluding his one-day trip to Tehran two days ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan is all set to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today, in line with his agenda to establish peace and security across the region.

The Foreign Office revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold a discussion with the Saudi leadership as part of his recent consultations with the Iranian leadership in Tehran. The discussions will be focused on bilateral relations, regional peace, and security, amongst other developments.

This would mark Prime Minister Imran Khan’s third visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Earlier in February 2019, Islamabad welcomed the high-profile state visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Imran Headed to KSA

A press release from the Foreign Office underscored the agendas of the Premier’s upcoming visits, “The Prime Minister will confer with the Saudi leadership in light of his recent consultations with other leaders. Bilateral ties and other regional developments would also form part of the discussions.”

“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound in a fraternal relationship marked by mutual trust and understanding, close cooperation, and an abiding tradition of supporting each other.”

Analysts observe that Pakistan, under the leadership of Imran Khan, has assumed the powerful role of a capable mediator, and stands as the only country in the region that is attempting to mediate tensions between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The ongoing conflict between the two oil-rich nations can prove to have disastrous consequences for the entire region.

Opinion makers also note that the Premiership of Imran Khan and his dynamic diplomatic engagement has quashed New Delhi’s endeavors of “diplomatically isolating” Pakistan, as Islamabad has taken center-stage with its efforts to revive the Afghan peace process, and now, mediating the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan: Facilitator of Peace

On Sunday, Prime Minister Khan engaged with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a one-day state visit to Tehran. During the consultations, the leaders stressed the need to establish peace across the region.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his press briefing with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, observed that Pakistan has always been willing to facilitate the brotherly nations of Iran and Saudi Arabia in sorting out their differences. He noted that Pakistan’s intentions as a “facilitator” extend towards its desire to establish regional peace and security.

Read more: Is Imran Khan headed to KSA & Iran to Diffuse Tensions & Mediate?

The Premier said that Pakistan does not seek conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He said, “We realize that the issue is complex, and we feel that it can be resolved through dialogue. But what should never happen is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran have been embroiled in a complex relationship for decades, but the recent tensions have ignited, particularly in the wake of the September 14 attack on crucial Saudi oil infrastructure, which has cut down the Saudi oil production drastically.

Washington was quick to level the blame on Iran, and with Tehran persistently denying any role, the attack was claimed by the Houthi rebels of Yemen, who have been fighting against the Saudi forces for years. Saudi Arabia has also blamed Iran, and US-imposed sanctions have drastically reduced Iran’s crude oil revenues, causing a devastating slow-down of its economy.

Speaking to media, the Saudi Crown Prince observed that a war between the Kingdom and Iran will have a crippling effect on the global economy.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said, “The region represents about 30% of the world’s energy supplies, about 20% of global trade passages, about 4% of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries.”

Read more: PM Khan on a mission to prevent Iran-Saudi conflict

The Saudi Crown Prince expressed hope that the conflict would not come to a military standoff as a “political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one.”

He added, “If the world does not take strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests. Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.”

PM Khan after UNGA

Speaking to GVS, Jan Achakzai, Chairman for the Centre of Geopolitics and Balochistan, observed that following his powerful speech at the UN General Assembly session, Prime Minister Imran Khan has emerged as a strong leader.

He said, Prime Minister Imran Khan has emerged as a strong leader and gained the reputation of a strong man after UNGA speech. He has won acclaim for his credibility and straight talk on issues from Islamophobia to Kashmir to anti-terror policies of the US. His warmth and integrity have also endeared him with world leaders including President Trump to Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, President Erdogan, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.”

“This is why he was asked by President Trump and Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to de-escalate  tension with Iran, pinning hope on him to be statesmanlike in dealing with regional challenges.”

The Baloch geo-strategist observed that Pakistan is already playing a very critical role in Afghanistan to boost reconciliation efforts and push for the respectful thinning of US troops out of the country. On PM Imran Khan’s perusal, the US-Afghan talks will resume this week.

Achakzai said, Putting Pakistan at the world stage of diplomacy and relevance, Imran Khan has put India on the map: human right situation of IOK has been condemned by western public opinion makers, congressmen/women, parliamentarians, political parties and human right organizations.”

“For the first time, India is feeling the heat on its Kashmir policy internationally in terms of backlash mainly due to Pakistan’s robust diplomatic lobbying. India will also fail on FATFT issue—it has been lobbying for Islamabad to be blacklisted but it is not going to happen.”

Middle East: A Conflict Zone

Jan Achakzai observed that any escalations in the ongoing Iran-KSA tensions will turn the Middle East into a conflict zone.

He said, “Iran-Saudi issue is another area Pakistan has come centre stage. Coincidentally, there is a realization in the region that any treading up the path of escalation ladder by the two countries, will turn the entire Middle East into a conflict zone and the world economy will come to a grinding halt with oil prices shooting over the roof.”

“Pakistan, since enjoys strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and good neighborly ties with Iran, is in a better place to be a bridge. Tehran has the best chance to leverage Pakistan with Saudi Arabia and get some concessions.”

The Baloch analyst continued, Earlier visiting Tehran and Riyadh, the ISI Chief Gen Faiz Hameed laid the ground for Imran Khan’s journey to Iran and Saudi Arabia, by meeting the concerned establishments and assess where they stand.”

“The CBMs and short term issues among others revolve around Yemen situation as well. There is likelihood that Saudi Arabia and Yemeni stakeholders engage for a truce and Pakistan can facilitate any such engagement. Though Iran is not a direct party to Yemen situation but is backing the Houthis’ insurgency; the Iranian oil tanker issue is also up for discussion after Islamabad’s engagement.”

Underscoring Saudi Arabia’s dilemmas, Achakzai said, “Saudi Arabia is pragmatic and mature enough to revisit its foreign policy challenges. This is why it was Riyadh which signaled to reduce the tension in the region in the first place.”

Read more: Saudi Arabia sides with US: blames Iran for tanker attack

“Though Imran Khan has said that his initiative is Pakistan originated and is not in response to any third party request, he was actually not giving away any diplomatic levy for the two rival parties to ascertain their level of eagerness and vulnerability while possibly going into any negotiations. Yet PM Imran Khan’s quest stems from encouragement by the concerned parties to help bridge the gap.”

The Baloch analyst concluded, “It is going to be a win-win situation for both Iran and Saudi Arabia on one hand and the entire region on the other, that the tension in the Middle East is reduced and a knife-edge situation is avoided. Islamabad has long experience of dealing with conflict resolution in Afghanistan and managing a very hostile powerful neighbor like India.”