Saudi-Iran Tussle: Can the Sharifs duo succeed
Recent execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr in Saudi Arabia on charges of terrorism and inciting locals against the Kingdom has escalated the tussle between Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim Country and Saudi Arabia, the house to two holy mosques of Muslims and a majority Sunni Islamic State.
Iran as expected reacted furiously on the execution and in the aftermath of Sheikh Nimr execution Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Saudi consulate in Mashad, second biggest city of Iran were set ablaze by the angry protestors.
The situation further deteriorated by the response of the Saudi government when it recalled it's Ambassador back from Tehran and cut off all trade, commercial and diplomatic ties with Iran.
Since then the bilateral relations between the two most important Muslim states are deteriorating day by day and the Muslim world is being divided into two blocs.
Saudi Arabia is leading the major bloc with most of the sunni Islamic states joining it's 34 nation alliance while predominantly Shia Muslim states Iran and Iraq along with Syria on the other side of the fence have lodged their horns against Saudi Kingdom.
The situation poses a very grim picture for Pakistan as it had traditional and strategic ties with its ever green and time tested ally Saudi Arabia on the one side and on the other hand is its western neighbour and brother Muslim Country Iran.
Saudi Arabia is trying it's level best to incorporate Pakistan as an active member in its 34 nation military alliance and on the other hand the visit of Iranian foreign Minister was aimed at swinging the tide towards their own side.
Pakistan is standing at the cross roads of its history where it is stuck in a catch 22 situation. Saudis have long list of expectations from Pakistan and especially from Sharif government in Islamabad to whom it gave a decade of hospitality once their government was toppled by General Pervaiz Musharaf coup on the eventful night of October 12, 1999.
The expectations are high from sides as Pakistan has to decide what to do at this critical juncture. What to do is the most pertinent questions which rises here.
Should Pakistan side with Saudi Arabia with which it has historical ties?
Should Pakistan side with its neighbour Iran at this point of time?
Should Pakistan stay neutral and would it be acceptable to Saudi Arabia?
Sectarianism has long haunted the Pakistan and thousands of lives of innocent Pakistanis have been lost in sectarian turf in Pakistan in last two decades and Pakistan decision at this critical time can turn the sectarian wave on once again which has been calmed down in country after operation Zarb e Azab.
The recent visit of the two Sharifs to Iran and Saudi Arabia is most important in this aspect.
Will the duo be able to convince the Royal Family of their support that too without providing the physical support in terms of presence of ground troops ?
Will the duo be able to convince Saudis to cool down in the beast interest of Islam as this sectarian turf can be even more dangerous than the threat of ISIS for Muslims.
Their subsequent visit to Iran where they would meet President Rouhani is of equal importance as the wishlist and desires of Iran would be disclosed.
Will the duo be able to calm down the Iranian anger after Saudi executions ?
Will the duo be able to convince Iranian leadership to respect the internal sovereignty of the Arabian peninsula and retrieve from the Yemeni battlefield in the backyard of Saudi Arabia?
The Syrian battle ground has also escalated tensions between the two islami states and would Pakistani Sharif's be able to suggest and convince for something substantial to both sides in this conflict.
Pakistan has to be safe and yet be pertinent. It's role as a mediator has to be diplomatically marvellous where without being impinge inside the battle ground it has to ensure both sides that it sides with either in their difficult times at the same time mentioning it's own terrorism and sectarian problems.
This would be test of the personal as well as the diplomatic skills of the Sharifs duo and a testimony of the leadership qualities of both who have taken this excellent step of acting as a mediator in be testing time of the Muslim Ummah.
The Sharif's duo success on this front will not raise their own stature but would also enhance Pakistan image as a responsible and a credible nuclear Muslim state capable of handling the internal issues of the Muslim. World and Ummah.
Best of luck Sharifs and may Allah blessing be with you in uniting the Muslim world.