PM’s peace initiative receives boost

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan, who visited Saudi Arabia immediately after his talks with Iranian leadership, has received tremendous support to his peace offensive both in Tehran and Riyadh. The positive response shown by the leadership of the two brotherly countries has negated vested propaganda that the gulf between them was unbridgeable or they were not willing to mend fences.
It must be a matter of satisfaction for Pakistan that Saudi Arabia positively responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for defusing tension in the Gulf region by agreeing to give peace a chance. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told newsmen that the Prime Minister urged Saudi leaders to peacefully resolve the regional disputes and Saudis agreed that diplomacy would be preferred and differences would be resolved through dialogue. This is in line with earlier statement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who remarked during an interview that war with Iran would devastate the global economy and he prefers a non-military solution to tension with Tehran. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in an interview, said Tehran was ready for talks with Riyadh both directly and through intermediaries and that Pakistani efforts in this regard were welcome. All this shows willingness for talks and resolution of the issues through peaceful means was there on both sides and there was clear room for Pakistan to play its mediation role effectively. It now depends on the diplomatic skills of our leaders to cash upon the opportunity of calming down sentiments and engaging in constructive dialogue for the sake of regional peace and security as well as unity and solidarity of the Muslim Ummah. It is crystal clear that some powers have vested interests in sowing seeds of misunderstanding between Riyadh and Tehran but it is responsibility of OIC countries especially Pakistan to help avert escalation of tension. Mechanism for talks should be worked out expeditiously and after low level diplomatic contacts and talks, leaders of the two brotherly countries should be hosted in Islamabad for comprehensive discussions. As a first step, the two countries should be persuaded to avoid issuing provocative statements against each other.