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Published Date: Jun 13, 2017

Pakistan should adopt neutral stance in Middle East crisis

Pakistan should take a neutral stance regarding the crisis in the Middle East as becoming part of the conflict will create problems for the country, said leader Awami National Party (ANP) Afrasiab Khattak on Monday.
Mr Khattak was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Changing Power Dynamics in the Context of Prevailing Situation in Middle East’ which was hosted by the think tank Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
“I fear Pakistan will get itself involved in the problem of the Middle East by becoming a frontline state again and associating itself with one of the parties to the conflict. The ‘Islamic Alliance’ is actually led by the US and Israel is an unannounced member,” he said.
He stressed that Pakistan should use diplomatic channels to find a way for peace for the region and maintain neutrality.
Use diplomatic channels to find a way for peace in the region, says Afrasiab Khattak
“Becoming a party will have serious implications especially in Balochistan which is already facing a number of problems. I also fear the internationalisation of the issue of Balochistan,” he said.
Mr Khattak added that the government should discuss the issue in parliament so a broader national consensus is formed.
Defence analyst Imtiaz Gul said Pakistan cannot remain unaffected if Iran is going to be involved in any conflict. Also, annoying Arab countries in the situation will also result in massive unemployment as millions of Pakistanis are working in various Middle Eastern countries.
He said there should be a well thought out national response after consultation with all stakeholders.
SDPI Research Coordination Unit head Shakeel Ahmed Ramay said it has now become clear that the roots of the conflict are not sectarian but various players have their own geo-political interests.
Some of the other participants said the crisis can put Pakistan into a very difficult situation and there was no need to make consensus based decisions.