The mounting tension between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has stirred a million dollar question: Should Raheel Sharif stick to his recent assignment in the Kingdom or he must pack and move to his homeland at the earliest?
Despite being critic of any such adventure and an ardent supporter and advocate of Pakistani nationalism my answer is a big big No. The situation demands that Raheel Sharif should stick to his assignment. Here are the reasons.
1. Pakistan must try her level best to maintain a balance between rival Muslim countries. If Gen Raheel Sharif packs and moves to Pakistan at this moment the balance is destined to be vanished in a moment. This move shall give message to the House of Saud that Pakistan is in the opponent’s camp. Yes we have this option but we must hold it till the last breath. This can be exercised but only in the worst circumstances and not at this stage. Exercising this option at this stage shall be a disaster.
2. Gen Raheel Sharif is there with a commitment on Pakistan’s side that it is only meant for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Until and unless this force shows some aggressive postures against any Muslim country he must stick to the commitments Pakistan has made. We are there to defend Saudi Arabia but not for any aggression against any Muslim country. We have not toed the Saudi line against Qatar and we are there to defend Saudi Arabia against any aggression. This is something independent in the contours of our foreign policy.
3. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top military brass’ recent visit to Saudi Arabia also shows that our policy direction is satisfactory and we are trying to bridge the gap between the Muslim world. This is a noble cause and Pakistan must take it forward with the spirit of brotherhood. If Raheel Sharif leaves his recent assignment, the position shall be compromised and avenues of hope and peace shall be blocked forthwith.
The fact is that there are challenges and there are opportunities as well. Only a prudent and proactive process of decision making can steer us out of this complex situation.