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Arab frustration with Pakistan

Arab frustration with Pakistan

After the resolution, the recriminations. It may have been a stirring riposte to unreasonable demands, but the consensus parliamentary resolution last week was always going to draw criticism from the Arab states that had wanted Pakistan firmly on the side of the Saudi-led coalition attacking the Houthis inside Yemen.

Perhaps the only surprise is that the first broadside has come from the UAE, with Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammad Gargash using decidedly undiplomatic language to vent his, and possibly his state’s, apparent frustration with the Pakistani decision to not participate in hostilities inside Yemen.

There are at least two things that need to be considered here. First, Mr Gargash’s comments have underscored precisely what was argued in parliament last week: the conflict in Yemen is not about Yemen itself but seen by Saudi Arabia and its allies as part of a much wider struggle to push back against perceived Iranian influence in the region.

That in and of itself is reason enough for Pakistan to abide by the parliamentary resolution — Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries cannot and should not come at the expense of a third country with which Pakistan shares a significant border.

What Mr Gargash, and surely his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab countries, may be perceived as seeking to do is to use the Yemen conflict to effectively declare war on Iran. But Pakistan has no reason whatsoever to engage Iran in a conflict, directly or via proxies.

In fact, it is in Pakistan’s interests to broaden ties with Iran, especially in terms of energy cooperation, and to position itself to take advantage of the rollback of sanctions that the US-Iran nuclear deal may allow.

If there is any role for Pakistan in the Yemen conflict, it must lie in the diplomatic route that the government has stressed in recent days. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is already coordinating closely with the Turkish government and has tried to encourage the OIC and the UN to play a more proactive role — that remains the responsible thing to do.

Second, Mr Gargash’s comments have made it imperative to launch a parallel and urgent diplomatic outreach to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Yemen conflict.

Their anger and resentment directed at Pakistan may be unjustified, but it should not be ignored. Pakistan has many political, economic and diplomatic stakes in the GCC countries and Saudi Arabia, not least the estimated several million Pakistani expatriates.

Ensuring the safety and security of Pakistanis abroad and the continuation of an economic lifeline ought to be a priority of the government here. Surely, the Pakistani emphasis should be on the much broader spectrum of ties that exist with the GCC countries and Saudi Arabia and the self-defeating economic rationale of curtailing financial and employment ties with Pakistan. Ultimately, it is no one’s interest to escalate a policy difference over Yemen into wholesale damage to long-standing and close ties.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2015

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    1. Whatever the political relations between Arab countries and Pakistan; the fact that the people of Pakistan are Muslims and have a deep rooted love of Arabic Language, literature and culture.
    2. The party politics situation in Pakistan regarding Arabic Language, versus English.
    (i) Deep love of all for Arabic.
    (ii) English maintained only as necessity.
    3. The dread of Arabic language and this notions as a boulder.
    Most of the educational Pakistanis know a lot of Arabic yet they know it not.
    (i) Most of the subjects up to middle and even matriculations are in Urdu; this urdu is only a name the main body of every subject is Arabic for example, in Mathematics, Arithmetic, Geometry and Algebra, Geography, physics, chemistry, history and others, and every block of the whole masonry is Arabic except for the cementing material ( گارا) is used as urdu. In the higher standards the Arabic technical terms appear side by side with the English.
    3. Struggle arabacising every subject through the medium of urdu. Why it is not giving productive results.
    (i) The question of service.
    (ii) Dearth of literary; scientific, philosophic men, capable of rendering translation which is very difficult task demanding higher talent amounting to genius, lack of devotion and encouragement.
    (iii) Fear of culting away from the west in some minds through relatively few.
    (iv) Lack of enterprise for culting the boulder through competent translations,
    (v) More speeches but little substantial of constructive work.
    (vi) Disheartening of hasty behaviour of the Arab enterprise in assisting in the problem of teaching Arabic.
    (vii) But mainly due to the inability of securing service of livelihood by attending to the arabic at the cost of English.
    (viii) The absence of translations.
    (ix) The hasty demeanor of the age of the present-day race for modernizing every thing of ensuring defence.
    4. The future prospects :-
    (i) Are very bright. Because;
    (ii) (a) The English or any western language cannot fit in with the texture of urdu, of the people of Pakistan are not so devoid of good sense not to judge the ridiculous character the mixed language would assume, by this marriage.
    (b) Whereas the experience has shown that Arabic and Persian fit in and get amalgamated with urdu nationally and benefitly.
    (c) The people of Pakistan are therefore obliged to adapt Arabic, today or a hundred years hence, sooner or the later.
    5. The advantages of one’s own language :-
    (i) Speedy progress of science etc.
    (ii) The real nature of ken of the subject.
    (iii) Integrity of character and sincerity of purpose of mind etc.
    (iv) A real satisfaction, in every thing prose, poetry conversation etc.
    6. The advantages of Arabic :-
    (i) Unification of Islamic world.
    (ii) A guarantee for the safety of Islam as religion.
    (iii) Closer ties, better understanding mutually.
    (iv) Hope for the next world.
    (v) Better understanding of concept and soul of Islam and Islam’s view of the worldly progress.

    7. Necessity of :-
    (i) Patience and perseverance on the part both of Pakistan’s and Arabs regarding this problem.
    (ii) Encouragement of talent of genius in this respect.
    (iii) Better understanding of Arabs and Pakistanis mutually. Closer ties.
    (iv) Expenditure of money in reasonable amounts judging from the paramount importance of the problem.
    8. Pakistanis know a lot of Arabic, and they know not. Arabs have a grave responsibility and duty and they flinch from it peevishly.

    Adara Afqare Gabriel quaid e azam street nawababad wah cantt distt rawalpindi Pakistan

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