Pakistanis are extremely outraged since august 5, when India shamelessly annexed the occupied Kashmir in union territory by abolishing article 370 and 35-A. Millions are tearing their hearts out when they witnessed their closest allies KSA and UAE are not standing by their side in this tough time despite sharing religious, political and cultural values with Pakistan. Our mainstream and social Media is knee-jerking with emotional response on the stance of the Emiratis and their open endorsement of India’s controversial act. People in the country are extremely dismayed because they have historically counted on support for Kashmir from Gulf allies.
There are several reasons behind this disappointment that Pakistan has received from its so-called Islamic brothers. We need to understand the factors behind world’s tilt towards India. India today is far more important and valuable for the globe than Pakistan ever was. In the same way, India is more important to gulf countries than Pakistan nowadays. India’s meteoric rise as a global influencer, rapidly growing economic clout, sophisticated and skilled workforce working in the Gulf countries, volume of trade and commercial linkages with Gulf States are the reasons for Arabs alienation from Islamabad.
There are several reasons behind this disappointment that Pakistan has received from its so-called Islamic brothers. We need to understand the factors behind world’s tilt towards India
During the last visit of Saudi crown prince MBS to India, he vowed to invest $100 Billion in India by 2021 and the amount he promised to Pakistan was $20 billion. During fiscal year 2017-18 Pak-KSA trade volume was 7.5 billion US dollars whereas, Kingdom’s trade volume with India was 27.5 billion US dollars. Remittance inflow into Pakistan from the kingdom was $4.9 Billion and remittances towards India were $12.2 billion. On the other hand, in UAE India fulfills the demand for cheap and skilled labor for Emiratis in a way that Pakistani construction workers are no longer able to. UAE also earns a lot from India through gulf ports that are gateway towards the world for India’s humongous exports. GCC’s total annual trade with India is near about $100 billion while trade with Pakistan declines. Ostensibly, these commercial benefits from India will never allow Gulf countries to side with Pakistan against the New Delhi.
Even after knowing and acknowledging Kashmir’s historical, geographical and sentimental affinity with Pakistan, Gulf countries might never support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir in recent times. Apart from commercial gains, another strong reason why KSA and UAE cannot support the democratic norms in Indian occupied Kashmir is their own undemocratic and authoritarian political setup. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the House of Saud; whereas, UAE is ruled by the royal sheiks from different Emiratis tribes. Advocating the democratic right for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir will ultimately put them into the hot water as they do not possess the moral right to support the Kashmir’s legitimate democratic struggle.
Contrary to the Gulf States, support from turkey and Iran is a sigh of relief for the heart-broken people of Pakistan. For a sufficiently informed and minimally educated public of Pakistan, this support from two other Muslim countries will help them to keep their faith alive in the concept of so-called Muslim-ummah. However, support from Iran against India could be termed as Tehran’s disappointment on India’s agreement to US-led sanctions on Iran. In addition to that, Iran’s ambition of fostering its version of Islam into Kashmir could be a possible reason. As 15% of the population in Indian occupied Kashmir are Shia Muslims.
No matter our old friends do not show sympathy with us today. We should not be unjustly harsh on the silence of Gulf countries and the international community on Kashmir’s unprecedented crisis. If we look at our past and present we will find several deplorable silences on many humanitarian crises where we were only passive spectators. For instance, we never dared to speak about the plight and miseries of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province of China.
Thousands were tortured to death in re-education camps, several women were sterilized but we never spoke against our all-weather friend due to our strategic and economic gains. We are still silent on the worst humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, where 18 million Yemenis don’t know where their next meal will come from and millions are on the verge of starvation. We are silent just because we don’t want to annoy our Arab masters. Not only this, but we have always served the United States as their vassal state for the greed of military and civil aid. These are recent glaring examples of our moral bankruptcy and materialism. History will be even more brutal and painful if we go through it.
So Instead of grousing about the humiliating behavior of Gulf countries and their take on Kashmir issue, we need to wake up and smell the coffee. It is high time now; we must take some practical and effective measures. Undoubtedly, a clear strategy on Kashmir’s recent crisis cannot be shaped unless restrictions on Kashmiri people and their leaders are lifted. Till then Pakistan needs extremely vibrant and prudent diplomacy to solicit international support. Pakistani Diaspora in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe should effectively be used to expose Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. And for now and ever we must acknowledge and work hard for geo-economic linkages and gains rather than geo