A Brother, Nevertheless

Iran’s President is in Pakistan and all eyes are fixed on this very significant visit. The exchange of missile strikes is still fresh in our memory as the country’s officials welcome the Iranian Premier. The recent escalation between Iran and Isra­el has also not faded out yet. We know the new government is equally keen to invite investment from Saudi Arab and to not al­low that partnership to derail at any cost. However, there is a crucial foreign policy stereotype the Iranian President’s visit is set to break. If Pakistan utilises this trip well enough, it will be our first-ever practical move towards transcending bloc politics and seeking a multiplicity in our international relations.

Pakistan has long aspired to do so. It is noteworthy that our con­sistent stance on the Russia-Ukraine war as well as Israel’s war on Gaza has brought us closer to gracefully walking out of the bloc trap, without compromising any moral commitments in bilat­eral relations with other bloc partners like the Saudis. A bigger question will still lurk in the Pakistan-Iran ties – the fate of the gas pipeline. No matter how keen both sides are, the pulling of strings by the United States has set some limitations that are tricky to escape. However, if a mature understanding is reached, we will soon see the day when the pipeline is materialised. Sanctions are not the end of the world, after all. Russia not only lived with the sanctions but also surpassed them. The visit of the Iranian Presi­dent is one golden opportunity to set an air of mutual trust. Both countries tackled the missile strike crisis in a very mature man­ner and the crisis diffusion talks between the Foreign Ministers were exemplary, to say the least. For anyone who thinks that host­ing an Iranian President might not send the right message to Sau­di investors, it is important to remember that the contours of Iran-Saudi Arab tensions have changed a lot. We are no more living in a world where shaking hands with one will enrage the other.

The West, however, will perceive the visit very differently. It is on Pakistan and Iran to remain consistent and build on the mu­tual confidence gained by this trip. Joined by religion, there is no overestimation of the potential that lies in cooperation. Geo­graphical proximity offers attractive trade alternatives for both countries and common problems in the border regions call for collaborative mechanisms to restore peace in the long run and let prosperity take its path.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt