Why Pakistan Needs a New Strategy for the Pending Political Gulf Crisis

Chirayu Thakkar

Recently, India abruptly ended special autonomy of the Indian-administered Kashmir and dismembered it into two federally administered regions. A revved-up Pakistan prime minister resorted to all means to attract the attention of the global community to attend this issue including nuclear saber-rattling. Many countries have turned a blind eye to Imran Khan’s entreaties for intervention advising both neighbors to resolve the matter bilaterally. Nothing has flustered and disappointed the Pakistan politicos and public more than the outright inaction of Saudi Arabia and the UAE coupled with their acts of heaping highest civilian awards on Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Historically, Pakistan has considered both these Gulf nations as custodians of ummah—a global community of Muslims—and looked upon them in moments of crisis. In the wake of India-U.S.-UAE/Saudi Arabia strategic configuration, that spirit of pan-Islamism needs to be revisited.

 The Shattered Ummah

In the aftermath of unilateral action by New Delhi, the Emirati ambassador to India termed the matter as “internal to India” while the Saudi foreign ministry issued an equally tepid response. Taking a veiled dig at Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and by extension, the wider silence from the Arab world, including Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Pakistan foreign minister, bewailed “Islamic ummah has economic interests in India.” Qureshi suggested that Pakistanis should not expect any relief from them. The meltdown and angst, however, was more hysterical and palpable in media and broader public opinion. The Nation, a leading English daily, published an editorial titled “The Shattered Ummah.”

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