Khan & The House of Saud
Well, our premier, Mr. Khan just made his maiden international visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our very own brotherly Muslim fellow on the World Map.
The word from Riyadh is that Khan won the toss and chose the House of Saud to bat first if we see the political spectrum across the middle east, the focal person to attend too is either the Crown Prince himself. None other than His Excellency Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud or the Nahyan`s of UAE with His Excellency Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
So basically Khan played it well with diplomatic boots on the Arab soil. Apart from photo ops and the theatrics of the whole trip, one of the major agenda would be Pak extending strategic partnership to the Kingdom. Surprisingly, this is something that wasn’t expected at least in CPEC circles which have been quite active from half a decade or so.
Let’s have a look at our neighbors when it comes to CPEC, India is clearly out of the picture. Afghanistan has a lot going in their own country and many would agree to the fact that CPEC isn’t on their bucket list for now. Isn’t Iran the only viable neighbor we have that would’ve been an effective strategic partner, after all, it borders the heart of CPEC, Balochistan.
Saudis and Iran on a CPEC platter, that’s not happening anytime soon so what was Imran Khan thinking?
There`s a historical context to the ongoing situation, we saw when Mr. Zardari was running the country, despite criticism PPP was able to maintain a balance between Tehran and Riyadh to a reasonable extent. As opposed to Mr. Zardari, no one in the diplomatic circle expected Nawaz to maintain the same balance, after all, he owes his life to the house of Saud.
The question is why did Imran Khan with his international rapport and admirers in the West opt for the House of Saud?
Well for a start we all know that the incumbent government after seeing what happened with Mr. Dar is in no mood to resort to the IMF too soon.
Iran is being poked from the White House every now and then as the Americans can’t give up on Iranian Nukes.
Erdogan hasn’t been able to stabilize Lira after his quid pro co with the Americans.
Qatar has been abandoned by the Arabs.
So the only viable Muslim brother to finance us through hard times is the Kingdom itself as they have done in the past.
According to the information minister, the Saudis are expected to pay us a visit next month to get hold of some trade agreements and investment opportunities.
The world is still observing Khan and his first few months as premier, some of the popular decisions with austerity drives and selling off Maybachs and Mercedez, there is something missing.
A strong policy statement is yet to be presented regarding world affairs, Kashmir and Terrorism above all, maybe when Mr. Qureshi speaks at the UNGA, we will get some clarity on the diplomatic front.
Whether Khan is in Bani Gala or the Military Secretary`s place, he is thinking something, ready to pursue risks but again Calculated risks may be the appropriate word. Political pundits do believe his domestic policies won’t be a problem in the future, however, there is a long way to go in diplomacy.