With tensions between the US and Iran intensifying again amid war drums beating in the Gulf region, Islamabad has been advised to remain neutral to the conflict and avoid jumping into the middle of ‘someone else’s war’.
This was advised during a brainstorming session at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). Foreign policy experts including IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, Ambassador (retired) Tajammul Altaf, Air Commodore (retired) Khalid Iqbal and Maritime Study Forum (MSF) President Dr Syed Mohammed Anwar among other analysts and researchers.
They noted that despite having brotherly ties with Iran since its independence, Pakistan has not been able to progress its trade relations with its western neighbour. A prime example is the stalled Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.
If Islamabad extends support to Iran going ahead with the IP Gas pipeline project and connecting Gwadar and Chahbahar as sister ports under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of Beijing, is it willing to take the risk of antagonising not only the US but also close friends such as Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries.
Air Commodore (retd) Iqbal was of the view that the US is now softening its position towards Iran and the situation could move towards peace.
Iran should adhere to the terms of its deal in order to ensure its credibility, which could win Iran conditional support from Europe, China and Russia, he suggested.
On the role of Pakistan, he advised that Islamabad should not jump in to anyone’s war and should play a role similar to the one it played in the Yemen conflict.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2019.