In the comity of nations when nations negotiate a relationship, the aspect of emotional ties is best left in a corner and 99% of the working relationship should consist of practical substance and statecraft that can be perceived by the millions on either side as viable and workable.
Pakistan’s adoration of the Arab peninsula especially the holy cities is a matter of faith and belief and cannot be set aside in any matter by our govt. but the govt. should also not play upon these beliefs nor should they mix their personal relationships and requirements In matters of what should be the polity of the state for this is neither the mandate they were elected upon nor are they being sagacious in the exercise of statecraft.
Let us examine the question before us. Saudi Arabia desires our participation and joining ranks with the war coalition of the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) to wage war against Yemen, along with our troops, ordnance and hardware plus related ancillaries.
The GCC are a body of contiguous Muslim states, a homogenous ethnicity, a common language and loaded with rich , financial surplus coffers totaling amongst the richest four surpluses on the planet . Pakistan has nothing with the commonality above other then the fact that we are all Muslims. But the Muslims over time and history abrogated the originally conceived unity of faith and govt. of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) by allowing erection of geo political boundaries and then jealously protecting the financial capital surplus’ of their Muslim populations and discontinuing the code and concept of Bait ul Maal , that is the sharing/giving to the less fortunate faithful from the prescribed surplus accumulated .
Where do we stand ? Well let’s start from the premise what are the priorities of the region as determined/indicated by the GCC actions and what we should do about it. The GCC history in operation Desert Storm was to assist in regaining the sovereignty of its member Kuwait in 1990/91 and only allowed its territory to be used by foreign troops for passing through to the battlefront. Qatar allowed NATO aircraft to launch airstrikes from its territory upon the war zone. In the Iraq war that removed President Saddam Hussain the GCC at best allowed its armed citizens to penetrate the Iraq border to fight President Saddam and help Nato dispose of him. In the Syrian conflict, the GCC overtly supported Domestically and externally the opponents to the President Bashar Asad financially and otherwise and the world dreaded ISIS (Daish) seized the opportunity to benefit from this intervention .
In 2013 the President of Egypt was deposed after a landslide election victory and the GCC funneled over US $ 13 Billion to facilitate the new brotherly government in which contribution the Saudi Govt. share was US $ 11 Billion. In 2011 in civil war in Bahrain the GCC sent in Saudi troops and non commissioned Pakistanis to quell the war and in 2015 the GCC has intervened in the civil war in Yemen with airstrikes. A minimalist statement would be that In 25 years the GCC has intervened in numerous conflicts in this region and second only to Israel in its conflict participation , so would it be unfair to say that the GCC has emerged as a strong interventionist force in the region ?
This is the background upon which we must recognize what lies ahead for Pakistan’s involvement.
Historically no country of the world has guaranteed our national territorial integrity except the USA in SEATO and CENTO in 1958 and that also only if attacked by Communists. So while both India and Pakistan failed to achieve objectives in 1965 war, we had to go to Communist Tashkent for arbitration by a communist superpower and in 1971 we lost East Pakistan while the American fleet floundered in the bay of Bengal as there were no Communists visible on the horizon while the Indians were only in a weapons pact with the invisible Communists. In both wars the Chinese, Iranians, Turks and Indonesians staunchly supported and supplied Pakistan and no GCC country was visible in this lineup but if they were covertly helping, then the detailed facts must be published ASAP for public knowledge and correction of perception.
Pakistan’s history of intervention in 1947 in Kashmir and subsequently has resulted in a stalemate with no visible benefits to anyone yet , but its intervention in the cold war on behest of CENTO and SEATO halved our country in 1971 .Our covert intervention in Jordan in the seventies earned us the undying hatred of the Palestinians and with King Hussain dead , it is worth mentioning for the record not even the ruling family remembers what is owed to Pakistan . In wake of the Afghanistan intervention by 1980 a scorched earth policy emerged and from being a model self sufficient world bank economy we became paralyzed by crippling debts and incapable of administering government and purely dependent on clichés of democracy offered as opiate to the unsuspecting masses. in 1990 we agreed to guard Saudi frontiers from any overspill of the Gulf war but the offer only heaped scorn upon us . This is the interventionist history we bring to the table.
It could be argued that the above situation raises deep concern as the region from Turkey to Pakistan and from Afghanistan to Egypt is showing spreading conflict and that is without inclusion of the Israeli overall design and power play . More the reason that Pakistan seeks a role as peacemaker and involves regional Islamic leaders and shows its merits of its success at Tashkent , its success at Simla , both with the odds piled up against us and the ultimate accolade of arranging the Sino American opening by flying Kissinger to Beijing that led to the end of the Vietnam war. Lets invoke the Suleh Hudabiya where the graciousness of the Prophet (PBUH) so shocked some of his companions that they almost questioned it , yet shortly thereafter Mecca surrendered to Islam without any war or carnage . This is the wisdom of Islam , work towards Peace and where anyone fail to listen , enforce the path of righteousness by adjudicating who is right and then joining that force to make the other listen .
When such a stage arises and force must be used to imprint the right path then the methodology becomes the domain of state craft, to negotiate the terms of engagement and its financial aspect the taking of sides must be understood in light of an Islamic mission.
Let us suppose that the path of the GCC is chosen By Pakistan for its righteousness, then it should be pursued under the following guiding principles , to make one entity against those on the wrong path ;
1.Pakistan shall guarantee the territorial integrity of the GCC and the GCC shall jointly guarantee the territorial integrity of Pakistan. any attack on the territory of either side shall be seen as an attack on both .
2.The GCC shall strengthen Pakistan as will Pakistan strengthen the GCC . Pakistan shall allow the GCC unabated access to its labour resource while GCC shall defray/pay the entire external debt of Pakistan.
3.GCC and Pakistan shall jointly raise the Ammunition , Ordnance and Hardware capabilities of all concerned to the highest levels of technology and the weapons so raised shall provide adequately for all regional conflicts , and shall be adequately produced and stocked in all territories .
4.All training facilities will be jointly used and all sides will station troops in each others territories.
5.All the costs of the interventions shall be borne by the GCC who are in possession of large surplus financially.
6.The joint force becomes the guarantors of the holy mosques and reconstitutes the unity of the Ummah .
7.To economically stabilize Pakistan, the GCC shall annually invest 1% of its sovereign fund in the private sector economy of Pakistan.
These are some of the principles of engagements that will initiate and sustain the whole engagement. The whole exercise then takes on a meaning and the Ummah benefits and there can be a genuine achievement for lasting peace but any ambiguity will only create more confusion. Half measures and half hearted attempts will not mitigate circumstances only aggravate them for the long run and Pakistan must choose wisely with conviction and firm resolve or it will stumble into perpetuity .
Meanwhile rumors float precariously starting with India being given an understanding on a pact with the GCC and meanwhile a brother Muslim GCC country has threatened consequences upon Pakistan for not succumbing to its request to war against Yemen, some speak of Pakistani air carriers being returned home on pretexts or setting the GCC principle of ‘our way or the highway’. To answer in kind would be another chapter in lost Islamic opportunity even though Pakistan may stand vindicated as a superior Atomic power. This provocative attitude only aggravates the hawkish credentials of some in the GCC and is not historically in conformity with Islamic principles and makes the rationale for any move on Yemen questionable. This should be avoided.
Lets reason the greater principles involved through vision and our faith not through rhetoric and frankly the surplus countries must revive wise council and deliberate with the whole Islamic world as an entity . Let us not be carried away and further divide Islam. For too long a western devised solution to cutting Islam to size has been to undermine the OIC to the size of the Gulf rim countries. It is time for the GCC to rise to the occasion and bring the Ummah together in the OIC.
Karachi. April 13, 2015.
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