SOME media reports indicate that Pakistan has decided to remain neutral over Saudi-Iranian diplomatic row in view of closeness of relations and sensitivity of the issue. The decision, if taken, is legitimate as by remaining neutral the country would be in a better position to play the role of an arbiter to help resolve differences between the two brotherly countries.
In our view, Pakistan is certainly in a position to influence the course of things as it enjoys friendly ties both with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Its earlier decision not to take sides during Yemen crisis has also helped strengthen the impression that the country is genuinely interested in promoting peace and dialogue. The situation is a source of concern for Pakistan as it has implications for the entire Ummah. It has also been tradition of Pakistan to help resolve differences among Islamic countries or the issues involving Islamic states including Ira-Iraq war. The country has the capacity and necessary influence to do so as it is already facilitating the peace process in neighbouring Afghanistan. In the prevailing situation, it would, therefore, not be wise to watch the row as a silent spectator and therefore, we would urge the national leadership to have in-house brain-storming session to discuss in what ways the country can play the role of a facilitator in lowering the tension between the two countries. Pakistan should then send high level delegations to Tehran and Riyadh to calm down the situation. The possibility of sending bi-partisan Parliamentary delegations to the two capitals may also be examined. The tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran if allowed to persist could damage regional and global interests of the Muslim world and therefore, Pakistan should actively engage the two countries at the earliest.