By Arun Joshi
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia that concluded on Sunday has brought among other things Pakistan’s renewed bid to invoke their intervention in resolving Kashmir issue with India. That there was a response to his appeal became clear when the Saudi government ministers , especially Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said that his country could play a role in reducing tensions between India and Pakistan.
This is a significant development – Saudi Arabia that is the leading member of the 57- Islamic countries block Organisation of Islamic Conference -– had refused to convene the OIC meet on Kashmir when Pakistan had asked for it in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian union.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had charged the Saudi Arabia with walking away from its duty , and had also threatened that there could be a parallel group of OIC and discuss Kashmir . This had strained relations between the two countries to a large extent. This deterioration in their relations had come down to a breaking point.
Post – US President Joe Biden’s declaration that American and NATO troops would start leaving Afghanistan from May 1 and complete the process of the 20th anniversary of world’ most horrific terror attack on the American soil , known as 9/11, Pakistan has gained special importance . Its geographical location is very crucial for the two super powers United States and China because of their self-interest. Washington is keen on exiting Afghanistan as early as possible and ensure that there is political stability in the war-torn countries after all American troops have returned home . Pakistan is de-facto controller of Taliban that has upped the ante . Its violent campaign has swamped Afghanistan . Besides gaining control of newer territories in Afghanistan , Taliban ‘s nuisance value at the international level has gone up and it could scupper all the international plans to stabilize Afghanistan and prevent it from becoming hub of terrorism once again. The 9/11 was plotted by al-Qaeda from Taliban ruled Afghanistan in September 2001. China, of course, has its own geo-strategic and geo-economic interests in Pakistan, and the two countries are all-weather friends and both of them have doubts about India.
The significance of Saudi Arabia’ words of helping India and Pakistan easing tensions and resolving Kashmir issue has come after it was owned by the UAE- United Arab Emirates- that it had facilitated back-channel talks between India and Pakistan in Dubai for reinstating the November 26,2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control , a de- facto border between Indian and Pakistan parts of Jammu and Kashmir . The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has woken up to its position as the leading Islamic country . It has taken a very tough stand on the Israeli soldiers attack at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on May 8 . This assertion has come both as a leading Islamic country concerned over the plight of Palestinians as also leader in monitoring the global situation . The situation in Afghanistan, also an Islamic country is also on its radar , and it is aware of the role that Pakistan can play.
In a sense, Pakistan is playing a quid pro quo diplomacy on Afghanistan. It has conditioned its help in Afghanistan in taming Taliban for international intervention on Kashmir .
It knows that the Indian position due to the ever-expanding Covid-9 crisis that has left thousands dead and tens of thousands infected has suffered as it relaying on the international aid to overcome the challenge of fighting the corona virus . Everything is not humanitarian in this humanitarian aid , Pakistan knows it. That’s why it is playing up the game of putting India into a corner.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.
He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com