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A Saudi delegation, led by foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, has arrived in Pakistan amid growing Israel-Iran tension. The visiting dignitary was received by a beaming foreign minister Ishaq Dar, who is widely described as Pakistan’s de facto prime minister for all the right or wrong reasons.

The high-ranking Saudi official, according to media reports, will expedite action on the understanding reached between prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince MBS during the former’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia where the two had agreed to expedite the first wave of planned $5 billion Saudi investment package for Pakistan.

What is also expected from the high-ranking Saudi dignitary’s visit to Pakistan is that Pakistan’s export capacity will be increases, joint ventures will be launched, new opportunities will be paved and the achievement of the SIFC’s (Special Investment Facilitation Council’s) objectives will be advanced, along with bringing more speed and confidence to the economy.

In my view, however, the current situation following Iran’s attack on Israel will certainly be the focal point of the discussions between the Saudi team and Pakistani officials, who will be meeting, among others, the President, PM and army chief of the country.

That the Middle East has been plunged deeper into uncharted waters is a grim reality, to say the least. The ongoing Israeli war in Gaza and Israel’s likely retaliation against Iran constitute major challenges to the region’s security and the global economy.

Insofar as Pakistan’s approach to the worsening Middle East situation is concerned, the country, following in the footsteps of the Saudi kingdom, has already urged restraint and de-escalation in the region.

Needless to say, Pakistan is committed to the security of the Harmain Sharifain. In other words, its commitment to the security of the house of the al-Saud is arguably “iron clad”.

Syed Hashim Reza

Karachi

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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