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November 27, 2020

Regional issues

Opinion

November 27, 2020

The announcement by the UAE government that it had introduced the option of a golden visa was seen as a very positive step throughout Pakistan.

However, it is quite unfortunate that the UAE has suspended the issuance of visas to Pakistani passport holders. Although the unwanted situation due to Covid-19 is cited as the reason behind the decision, excluding India, one of the world’s worst coronavirus affected countries, from the ban list is not understandable.

There was a time when under the Nixon Doctrine, Saudi Arabia and Iran had the status of twin pillars to protect the interests of the superpower America in the region. During the cold-war era, the majority of Arab countries were part of the Soviet bloc, while Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran were American allies.

However, the ground realities are changing rapidly in recent times. Today, Iran has been declared the biggest enemy of the United States whereas Saudi Arabia and other regional players are on one page to tackle their common threat. Modern Turkey emerged on the world map after the conclusion of World War II. The country, once seeking membership of the European Union desperately, is now apparently much more interested in leading the Muslim world.

Similarly, the collapse of our neighborly superpower USSR resulted in internal disintegration. India, a former Soviet ally, is nowadays a strategic partner of the United States. Although Donald Trump has been defeated in the recently-held US presidential elections, any change in US policies is directly linked with change in national interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a recent interview, mentioned that there are some problems in the US electoral system that helps elect a president.

Historically, Pakistan has always been a supporter of Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Arab countries. Pakistan's long-standing position has always been in harmony with the Middle Eastern region. There are huge contributions of Pakistani people for bringing development and prosperity in the Middle East. The recognition of the Taliban government, prior to the 9/11 tragedy, by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE demonstrated the close coordination among them on the regional front. Even today, three countries are playing a significant role in the success of the Afghan peace process.

Saudi Arabia is still one of our closest and most trusted friends which has stood with Pakistan in every critical time the country has faced. Every Pakistani citizen has an emotional attachment with the holy land. That is why, I, on behalf of the Pakistan Hindu Council, took a clear stance that we should send our forces to protect Saudi Arabia. Alas, our refusal resulted in empowering anti-Pakistan elements to flourish in the Middle East.

No doubt, the ongoing developments in our region are making headlines in the international media. Various news related to foreign affairs are also echoing in the Pakistani media. Unfortunately, the irresponsible attitude shown by some circles in the form of unnecessary statements is creating problems for the entire Pakistani nation. Due to our own mistakes on the diplomatic front, our friends are now going far away from us. Such aggressive and hostile behaviour is weakening our national position.

In my view, the role of Pakistan in the coming future will be very important. Being a prominent Muslim country, the stance taken by the Pakistani government is always of great importance in the eyes of the international community. Therefore, there is a dire need to keep a close eye on the recent developments, both at the regional and international levels. We should adopt a solid stance only in the best interest of Pakistan.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani