Ali Ashraf Khan
There is a new danger showing itself at the Pakistan horizon. While our government and army so far have managed to keep away from the war in the Middle East now we hear that Nawaz Sharif government has agreed to the pressure of the Saudis to join a military exercise of unreported dimension and intention. This is a dangerous move given the fact that Saudi Arabia is talking about to start a ground intervention in Syria may be together with Turkey. Well those who know the Saudi capacity of fighting may understand that it might easily be Pakistani troops that are sent at the end of the day. That would not be the first time. Saudis are ruthlessly bombing and killing innocent civilian including woman and children in Yemen with the help of some coalition partners and they are unlikely to go into Syria themselves.
While Pakistan has a close relationship with Saudi Arabia it is time to reconsider this foreign policy detail. While Saudis have helped Pakistani government with cash and the Sharif family with shelter in the time of need Saudi’s Wahabi ideology among others has caused much trouble for Pakistan with regard to the spread of extremism and militancy. Now that Pakistan has reached a state when our very existence is threatened by terrorism mostly caused by extremists infected with wahabi ideology we should reconsider our attachment. The list of some twenty points that are included into the National Action Plan (NAP) include eradicating extremist ideas and mind sets. That is the point that touches not only upon our domestic, but upon our foreign policy orientation as well.
The Pakistani army is fighting an intense and demanding battle against terrorism and its handlers, its financial sources and against corruption that is destabilising state and governance in Pakistan. The army has its hands full and doesn’t need another war. If any proof for that is needed: we are talking about postponing the much needed and awaited census again because the army is unable to spare enough soldier for protecting and supporting the exercise. How can we spare troops for a military exercise in Saudi Arabia or even worse for a war in Syria? All sober and patriotic people of our country have to resist that! US, Israeli and Indian nexus has already damaged our national fabric and now joining Saudi military exercises will be another blunder.