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Let Saudi Arabia fume

Published Apr 25, 2015 04:41am


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

The news is that the high and mighty heading the 200-million strong Islamic Republic of Pakistan have just returned from the world’s petro-capital, Riyadh.

The prime minister, chief of army staff, minister for defence, foreign secretary, and an assemblage of high officials went hoping that their contrite expressions could somehow soothe an irritated septuagenarian monarch and his angry princes. There is no indication of success.

They should not worry. Sending Pakistani troops to kill and be killed in an overseas civil war is wrong, and no quantity of free oil or bales of cash can make it right.

Read: PM holds talks with King Salman, meets Yemen President Hadi

Pakistanis have no desire to fight an enemy whose name (Houthis) they have heard now for the first time. Worn out by an internal Taliban insurgency that has claimed upwards of 50,000 lives, and wracked by a series of targeted assassinations and bombings of imambargahs, the country is in no mood for a potentially disastrous overseas adventure. Parliament’s decision to stay neutral accurately captures the public mood.

How far can Saudi anger go? We should not be too worried. Kicking out Pakistani workers is not an option for the kingdom and will not happen. Nationals of all Gulf countries are hopelessly poor in skill and work habits, and they are in no hurry to change. Without an adequate supply of hardworking and underpaid servants, every petro-country would grind to a halt.

A second reason also sharply limits the strength of Saudi reaction. Pakistan is the only country that can, at short notice, potentially provide the kingdom with nuclear weapons, or with a nuclear umbrella. Of course, Pakistan would be wise in not even considering such a possibility. But the fact is that there are no other nuclear vendors in town — and the Saudis know it.

For the very first time, to their great astonishment, GCC Arabs are seeing Pakistan reject their diktat.

Pakistan also stands squarely in the middle of all avenues that could lead to an eventual indigenous Saudi nuclear weapons capability, which the kingdom so strongly desires.

Also read: UAE minister warns Pakistan of ‘heavy price for ambiguous stand’ on Yemen

In March, it quietly signed an agreement with South Korea for importing two nuclear reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, the kingdom plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $80 billion, with the first reactor on line in 2022.

So far it has not agreed to US demands, and insists (unlike the UAE) on having a full nuclear fuel cycle. This leaves open the possibility of reprocessing weapon-grade plutonium from nuclear wastes, which only Pakistanis can secretly help in doing.

For the very first time, to their great astonishment, GCC Arabs are seeing Pakistan reject their diktat. Floating on an ocean of oil, they are used to having their every wish instantly obeyed. The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, was seething with exasperation: Pakistan had dared to choose neutrality in an “existential confrontation” with Iran and would “pay the price”.

Pakistan’s ‘disobedience’ might have been more forgivable had it not come at this particular moment, when the Saudis are already in a state of fury over the action of their long-time ally, the United States. A preliminary Iran-US nuclear deal, which the kingdom has long feared and opposed, has already been signed. Although staunch anti-Iran and pro-Israel Republicans in the US Congress plan to strain every nerve to block it, President Obama will likely succeed in pushing through the final version at the end of June. The Saudi nightmare is that an Iran-US rapprochement will accept Iran as a threshold nuclear state, and end US-imposed sanctions. Iran would then appear as the victor, giving a big blow to the Saudi-led coalition (of Sunni-majority states), of which Israel is an honorary member.

In its attempt to rally Sunni support, the kingdom wants the Yemen war to be seen as a doctrinal tussle. But at stake is the long-term survival of the House of Saud. Iran is an insurrectionary, revolutionary power while Saudi Arabia wants the status quo. Iran’s mullahs openly call for the overthrow of all monarchies. In their political model the clergy holds the reins of power, with some space allocated for the expression of popular opinion. But any political freedom, no matter how small, is anathema to the kingdom. It is deeply alarmed that Iran’s support for the Palestinians, and its staunch opposition to US-led wars in the Middle East, has resonated with Arab public opinion.

Arab anger at Pakistan is partly understandable. Nawaz Sharif and his government had given the Arabs an impression that this nation stands at their beck and call. So, on the one hand, they pampered the egos of Saudi despots and gratefully accepted their favors, including the mysterious ‘gift’ of $1.5bn in March, 2014. Was there to be no quid pro quo? Then, various leaders raised Arab expectations further with loud declarations promising to “shed every drop of our blood” for the defence of Haramain Sharifain when, in fact, no Muslim holy site was ever threatened. But, when it came to putting boots on the ground in what would be a long-drawn bloody civil war, they chickened out.

Pakistan should take no sides in an external power game between Muslim states. Instead, we need to be deeply concerned with Saudi Arabia deliberately fomenting extremism within Pakistan, leading to horrific consequences. The loud support it has received from the officially banned violent sectarian-militant group, the Sipah-i-Sahaba, now rechristened as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, stands testimony. Long the recipient of Saudi benevolence, ASWJ has blasted parliament’s decision and staged public rallies urging Pakistan’s intervention in Yemen. The International Islamic University in Islamabad, with a frankly sectarian agenda, is another Saudi bastion, headed by a Saudi national who, amazingly, can speak no English or Urdu. Across the country, madressahs and mullahs receive Saudi funding and spread sectarian poisons.

Pakistan must stand firm behind its parliament’s decision. Let the Saudis fume. We must not fight their war. They cannot afford to retaliate too harshly. But even if they do inflict some pain on Pakistan, it will be limited and we will emerge stronger at the end.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2015

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (299) Closed

Zainab Apr 25, 2015 05:42am

As usual, Dr. Hoodbhouy has written a well-reasoned article. My only concern is how many Pakistanis will understand it. Unfortunately, we seem to equate Saudi Arabia with Islam and whatever Saudis do, we are afraid to question it fearing that it may be a sin. We will continue to suffer from this complex until this mind-set is changed.

MAK Apr 25, 2015 05:51am

A superb article by Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy. Totally agree with his understanding of the situation and his recommendations.

A brave Pakistani of repute to openly state his opinion on this sensitive subject.

bk Apr 25, 2015 06:11am

pakistan urgently need to clone a few million of hoodhboy for a brighter future. there are very few like him, pakistan needs many more .you are not only wise but even brave enough to make a statement like this, salute from an indian.

fawad Apr 25, 2015 06:41am

Every day statement comes out to pacify Saudis that Pakistan is standing with them..... enough to show that Pakistan govt knows Saudis are not convinced yet. I can see in future to compensate this "denial" by Pakistan will be compensated by more liscence to kill protected birds or as author suggested nuclear know how knowledge.

Shahid Apr 25, 2015 06:44am

Couldn't agree more. We should behave like a sovereign state and do what is in our national interest. Participating in an external conflict certainly doesn't serve us. If AWSJ is so keen to fight in Yemen, we should provide them with one-way logistical support. Pakistan will be a better place without these merchants of hate.

umer Apr 25, 2015 06:47am

Let's not hold our breath expecting a major shift in Pak-Saudi nexus. As I wrote in response to the author's article in NYT, if Nawaz Sharif is allowed to have his way, he won't for a moment hesitate in placing all our resources at the feet of Saudis. After all, isn't blood thicker than water. As for the Parliamentary resolution, the world is well aware how our Parliament is ever- ready for passing resolutions on-demand, provided the right kind of 'incentive'. It's just that that this time round the army feels hamstrung due to it fighting a civil war at home and realizes that stretching itself any further may put an unbearable strain on this machine. The generals have calculated that after letting some steam out the Saudis will ultimately fall in line.

Avtar Apr 25, 2015 06:56am

Insightful! Any way Arabs have never sent any forces to Pakistan to help it out against India.

mike hasan USA Apr 25, 2015 06:57am

Excellent PH. 'Masters not friends'

ga Apr 25, 2015 07:25am

Has anyone ever noticed that Pakistanis residing in Saudi Arabia are far more rigid and indoctrinated in dogma then those residing in neighboring UAE? Both are Arab and Muslim countries.

farzana Apr 25, 2015 08:00am

Arabian always remain in spell of supermacy for being custodian of Kaaba , they should have learn humanity first , the reality n base of Islam .

Confused Apr 25, 2015 08:12am

Next time there is an earthquake or sanctions on Pakistan perhaps Mr. Hoodbhoy and his Iranian friends can help us.

shyam Apr 25, 2015 08:20am

Is this how pakistan supports its islamic brotherly Arab nations in muslim ummah ? Remember friend in need is friend indeed. They badly need pakistan's help in this time of high crisis to fight the rebels

mansoor Apr 25, 2015 08:22am

Body language of both leaders in the picture speaks volumes.

Syed Apr 25, 2015 08:37am

Is there any need for such extreme write ups? Quiet diplomacy achieves better results. Putting salt on the wounds will complicates issues. It is an empirical truth that there are no permanent friends in Politics, there are permanent interests. Pakistan and its citizenry is better off talking less on such a sensitive issue.

niju Apr 25, 2015 08:39am

If pakistan corrects its relation with india it dont need to worry about rest of the world... A united south asian union can help the countries in this region developed..strong and doctate terms to rest of the eu we need to strengthen the saarc....forget our internel differences and work on the common girl of uplifting the living conditions in the region.

Dr. Nasir Ali Bhatti Apr 25, 2015 08:41am


Canada Apr 25, 2015 08:43am

Excellent analysis. A+

Zoha Zubery Apr 25, 2015 08:46am

Interesting perspective illustrating "The Saudi nightmare" situation. Another "Saudi nightmare" may in fact be the Saudi's Afghanistan -Yemen where both countries will wage a long and drawn out war of Muslim v Muslim, and in the end neither could claim victory.

Sarita Talwai Apr 25, 2015 08:47am

Insightful and sharp. This is why I keep returning to Dawn. No presstitutes here! Kudos to your writers and bloggers. PH and NFP should be loaned to India occasionally raise the bar.

s.khan Apr 25, 2015 08:47am

Saudis are inflicting huge damage on an already impoverished Yemen. Their inccurate bombing has killed 1000, wounded many more thousands and forced 50,000 to flee their homes. The naval blockade has caused serious shortage of food, water, medicine. This is inhuman, all in the name of reinstating ousted president Hadi who lacks popular support. There can be no military solution to this conflict. The only wise thing to do is to stop military activities and bring all the parties together for a diplomatic solution. Pakistan did the right thing by not rushing to participate in Saudi madness. Saudis have pretension to leadership of sunni world but want Pakistanis to fight their conflicts despite spending huge amount on purchases of military hardware from the west. Iran's involvement in Yemen is being exaggerated by Saudis. Abdullah Saleh, ex president has significantsupport in the military, is allied with Houthis. This is a conflict for power and control of Yemen.

Khan Apr 25, 2015 08:53am

Well written!

L.Ahmad Apr 25, 2015 08:56am

Saudis need to learn to fight their own fight as money can't buy everything.

Mian Amir Hakim Apr 25, 2015 09:02am

Some of the finest articles in "Dawn" come from Mr. Hoodbhoy. Without distracting hinself from the main subject he has the capability to engage his readers in a thought provoking sequel. I wish if he could write more frequently.

firozejavaid Apr 25, 2015 09:06am

Very nice & insightful article. We should let Saudis fry in their own anger. Nobody should shed a drop of blood to save the Saudi monarchy. Their fossilized thinking has no place in the modern world & their interpretations of Islam & their practices have brought shame to the cause of Islam all over the world.They entered this war to please their masters. Let them do it themselves.

AXH Apr 25, 2015 09:07am

Bravo PH, bulls eye! What you have described is what the majority feels in Pakistan.

baig Apr 25, 2015 09:17am

i do hope people in power would read this wonderful article.

iftikhar Apr 25, 2015 09:19am

PH nicely presented the desire of overwhelming majority.

lkhan Apr 25, 2015 09:23am

Excellent analysis Mr. Hoodhboy, agree 100% with your thoughts..... the Saudi who heads the university in Islamabad along with those who support the Saudi cause in Pakistan ought to be sent to KSA. All of them without exception, Pakistan can do well without them...

Abdul Malik Apr 25, 2015 09:24am

Excellent article. Absolutely, Pakistan must not get involved in Yemen's war. Regardless of what the house of Saud or the Saudis say or do to inflict financial or human resource miseries on Pakistan. Let the Saudis fume. Let them throw their tantrums. Pakistan can simply not get involved.

Hammad Apr 25, 2015 09:34am

Pakistan mist stand up to Saudi Arabia and the GCC who only operate on self interests and geopolitical power.

asim Apr 25, 2015 09:36am

I will stand by Saudi Arabia. I urge the parliament to reconsider its unwise resolution.

raees Apr 25, 2015 09:40am

Well wrote. 100% agreed.

Mk Apr 25, 2015 09:48am

India is not your enemy. Here we do not sit all day long thinking of destroying you..we have so much to deal with ourselves. Your real enemy are these so called brothers of yours who value your life and blood cheaply . who expect you to die for their cause but will never give you any respect or their daughters as a matter if fact . they fund your seminaries eminating fundamentalist secretarian idolgy which is diving your country and killing your people. Trust me we indians are not bad people , we can be excellent friends.

Honey Badger Apr 25, 2015 09:51am

Good One HoodBhoy, So basically it is a huge No from Pak Army again & again, I dont think the reprocusions will be very harsh as well, as you already mentioned. They still need something very important from us & with it will come back the so called friendship.

Kautiliya Apr 25, 2015 09:53am

Why worry when true friend China is beside Pakistan KSA is not needed any more because China will bank roll them if they can get to the riches of KP,Baluchistan and Afghanistan. Now Pakistan with the help of China will try to manipulate Iran in the long strategic interest of
China for Corri-door via Iran into Turkey and Europe.

Mehtab Apr 25, 2015 10:01am

Well written and logical article. It signifies our core national interest.

Hisham Apr 25, 2015 10:05am

Good article by hoodbhoy. This one didnt sound like a child clamoring to be heard. It was actually a well thought out piece and a good read too.

A Khan Apr 25, 2015 10:08am

Very aptly captioned and described by the author. House of Saud must realize that they have already put our house on fire by promoting extremism. Let them fume and we must concentrate on extinguishing the fire at home. Had it not been for the General the Mians would have by now met all Saudi demands and received more personal benefits.

Mehtab Apr 25, 2015 10:09am

@asim You can go and Join Saudi army, you will be better of. Prince Talal has recently pledged to present gift 100 British luxurious Bentley cars to Saudi pilots who participated in Yemeni bombings. Of course, we didn't see such a zeal when Gaza was being massacred by Israel.

TehParteh Apr 25, 2015 10:20am

Excellent. Hoodbhoy sb speaks out where others dare not...

M. Baluch Apr 25, 2015 10:35am

Dr. Hoodbhoy echoes the sentiments of all who believe in Pakistan's sovereignty, dignity and desire to live in peace with its neighbors.

Anirban Apr 25, 2015 10:43am

Great Write up!! You never cease to amaze me with your frank opinion. The first action would be to develop Pakistan into a modern state from Infrastructure, financial perspective. The mentality should also be modern and with a proper focus on development.

Wish we had such newspaper of Dawn's calibre in India.

Me Apr 25, 2015 10:49am

Didn't realise that a physics professor is equipped to write about politics. While agreed that Pakistan should not involve itself in this conflict, equal blame goes to Iran. It is real cute to bash the Saudis only.

On a side note UAE needs to be taught a lesson. The create hurdles in Baluchistan and not hurl threats. They need to be shown their true worth.

Jag Nathan Apr 25, 2015 10:53am

The first rule of the game always never fight someone else's war. Mr. Hoodbhoy is quite correct in saying Pakistan has no axe to grind with Yemen. For all you know most Pakistanis have never heard the name Houthis in their entire lifetime. And the story that Saudis have floated about the Holy Mosque being under threat is a plain white lie. Their tyrannical rule is definitely under threat,especially if the oil prices remain where they are and they have to feed their 25,000 princilings each with his four wives and 14 kids. The Paksiatni Parliament probably made the right decision. By the way - the Saudis & UAE dare not to deport 1.5 million Pakistanis working in their countries. I can assure you any such displacement of labor will have severe negative economic consequences and with oil at $50 a barrel, they have hardly any choice but employ the silent, compliant and toiling masses from Paksiatn. No one else would put up with their bad behavior.

Nisar Ahmad Apr 25, 2015 10:58am

Great piece!

Fiz Apr 25, 2015 10:59am

I endorse each and every word you have written. Let the world know' we are not for sale or black mailed.'

Khan Apr 25, 2015 11:04am

Kudos to the writer! Pakistan needs to stand up for itself

syed Apr 25, 2015 11:07am

Sir, solute to you. Let the light spread. We need people like you to make Pak a nation state rather than an outpost of Ummah.

Raf Apr 25, 2015 11:14am

"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends" Quote from Harry Potter JK Rouling

RHS Apr 25, 2015 11:24am

Touché Pervez. Thanks God that Pakistan still has a democracy no matter how imperfect.

Touseef Apr 25, 2015 11:24am

Beautifully penned,touched all angle and very factual. Excellent work .

M.M.Sherazi Apr 25, 2015 11:31am

Though the article surrounds some realistic approaches in addressing the on-going turmoil in Yemen, nonetheless, this is an opportunity for Pakistan to win over the Arab World by intervening into the conflict and wiping out the rebels threatening the re-establishment of legal Government process in Yemen, secondly, I reckon that this situation give an immense authority and justifications to Pakistan to show-off its nuclear capabilities and entrenched strength of its forces. This shall give Pakistan an edge over its covert and visible enemies that Pakistan has the devastating power when it comes to demonstrate it.

Touseef Apr 25, 2015 11:34am

@Mk we desire to be your friends and good neighbors and believe me Pakistanis don't harbor any ill wishes against Indians. The best examples are overseas as we will mingle in a heartbeat with Indians compared to any nationality. @MK peace be upon you and all Indians from Pakistan

Hafiz Apr 25, 2015 11:35am

Prof.PH....Pakistan has nothing to worry as long as Pakistan's iron friend China is around. Even if SA sends back Pakistanis , Iron friend-China will take them in and take care of Pakistanis. Pak-China relationship is sweeter than honey , higher than Himalayas, deeper than ocean.

Faisal Apr 25, 2015 11:42am

Pakistan should send its Forces to defend saudi arabia but we should not jump in yaman.

abbas Apr 25, 2015 11:44am

Finally, some in Pakistan made a 'Right' decision! Should i hope this will continue?

M Rafique Apr 25, 2015 11:46am


Sudhanshu Swami Apr 25, 2015 11:49am

Jobs for Indian Muslims may increase in near future, in Middle east.

javed Hasrat Apr 25, 2015 11:52am

hats off Brave hoodbhoy

ND Apr 25, 2015 11:59am

Saudis should be offered to sign a pact whereby both countries should militarily help each other if one goes to war. The problem lies in the way our shareefs view the international relations. Because they were given a refuge and 1.5 bn dollars so they r their masters. Gulf countries cannot survive without the cheap labour from sub continent. So it's a gamble worth taking. Well written article.

Parvez Apr 25, 2015 12:06pm

Well said did not mention that money buys a lot and although the Saudi's may have bought the Sharif's and our clergy they have the capacity to buy others as well.......let's hope we stay strong.

Sudhanshu Swami Apr 25, 2015 12:07pm

@Hafiz If things turns in wrong direction then sweeter than honey will be cause of diabetes, deeper than ocean deepness will drown the person. See in this world such so called friendship can take U turn. Islamic countries are not your friend at present, then on what basis you think China can be long term permanent friend. There is nothing common between china and Pakistan. It is merely an strategic alliance. If China-India have multi hundred billion trade with each other, they will have to protect each other too. Never expect China to jump in war. Only USA can afford to jump into others' wars. Russia, China, even India can criticize but they will avoid in direct involvement.

Simranjit singh Mann Apr 25, 2015 12:09pm

Very nationalistic approach, nothing personal. Sharifs have personal agenda in KSA palaces. Saudis do not think Pakistan as a self respecting nation. But it has proved now, come what may. Good for the region. In India KSA is spreading same venom as they are doing in Pakistan.

Khattak Apr 25, 2015 12:18pm

There are no true friends out there they are just interest can saudi trust pakistan to deliver in her time of needs the answer is a BIG NO! How can one trust a begging bowl state, Saudi be better serve by education it own citizen to compete with the rest of the world in technology advances nothing is beyond this great nation off our beloved prophet.the status quo need not to be change in Saudi, we have witnessed changes in Iraq Libya Syria the muslim world is not ready for a true democracy, if they is such a thing as true democracy

nini Apr 25, 2015 12:31pm

amazing , the arabs will do nothing but fume at the pakistanis in the GCC countries and FYI, they are already doing it now.

KPK Apr 25, 2015 12:34pm

Agree to some extent with the writer, but Iran with its regional agenda is not doing a fair business in the region. Some concerns' shown by KSA are very much legitimate and staying purely neutral would amount to siding with Iran. I think there needs to be some sort of balance. Remember Iran's nexus with India in Afghanistan, trying to hurt our interests. And remember we have been provided not only financial aid but also diplomatic ones in time of need. However, feeling that war in yemen will be disastrous for Kingdom, as they already have an existentital threat in the form of AQAP, we should pursuade them to choose the political way of dealing with it.

Iran and KSA needs to show some restraint and for the greater good of the muslim states should stop their proxy wars. It won't serve the interest of either one and will add to the misery of muslims.

Amanullah Khan Apr 25, 2015 12:36pm

So Pakistan should stand with IRAN!!!

Garib Manus Apr 25, 2015 12:39pm
            Pak is not alone; India too has long suffered from the proxy war between the Saudis and Iranians. 
anees from zaida Apr 25, 2015 12:50pm

@Avtar - Rubbish thinking !v If they had such strong armies, why would they ask others to help them now?

Ashfaq Apr 25, 2015 12:58pm

Quite a comprehensive and logical article covering all the factors and realms of Arabs attitude and expectations.On the other hand it gives a firm answer to those who are in struggle of dragging Pakistan into this war. And to agree with the fact that BLESSING in DISGUISE is there even if we have to face any RESPONSE from Monarchs for not fulfilling their wishes, for sure its going to be a REAL POSITIVE turning point in our national history.

Shafiq khan Apr 25, 2015 01:12pm

The way our leaders show response to the Saudi call by sending all to the summons of Saudi Arabia is demeaning. It shows the gradual creaping Mullah influence in the corridors of power in Pakistan. With the money of the dim witted Saudi Arabia they have colonised our country. The sooner Pakistan takes all internal state actors serving Saudi interesrs the better the country will be. Mullahs, Mudressas, the educational institutions like the Islamic universities have no benefit for a democratic country. Get rid of them. But the present dispensation have not got the guts to stand on their own feet. Demeaning and subservient behaviour says a lot. One , yes one day we shall have our leaders who have a sense of dignity.

tellmore Apr 25, 2015 01:26pm

@asim Though it is not advisable for pakistan to send army in to yemen whom they do not know, it is equally important that Saudi Arabia will remain stable. The stability of saudi arabia is important not only to them but also to the entire middle east and asia. May be to the entire world. Hence it is better pakistan takes a fresh look at their decision and provide some troops to be stationed at the borders of Yemen so that the stability of Saudi Arabia is ensured both physically as well as perceptionally.

Khaled Apr 25, 2015 01:36pm

@Confused why others should help? Why not start standing on your feet? Pakistan is not less than any other nation. Singapore has done & I'm sure Pakistan do it.

Quaid Apr 25, 2015 01:40pm

Bravo Pervez Hoodbhoy for your article. We need to take a frank stand on views that support Pakistan. We should no longer become puppet to others wishes.

Aziz Apr 25, 2015 01:42pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy. Agreed with everything you said.

However, your prescription "We must not fight their war" has an inherent weakness (assuming by "their" one reads Saudi+GCC only).


However, subject to my famished comprehension of your philosophy, you are in favour of de-nuclearizing Pakistan. Then how come you prescribe using our nuclear know-how even as an option?

But I do accept and fully endorse your caveat that "Pakistan would be wise in not even considering such a possibility".

My take on it. Pakistan should endeavour to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group first.

Afzaal Ahmad Apr 25, 2015 01:42pm

As usual , lucid and relevant . Thank you.

Ashfaq Apr 25, 2015 01:46pm

@M.M.Sherazi Would you try to ponder on the repercussions of any such involvement.Our society is already divided, minds full of hatred and thoughts already well polished by extremism.Just to show your power , invading a group in a 3rd country doesn't make any sense, no logic and lack any ethical ground.Besides we need to look into our own issues which are either directly or indirectly result of our these BROTHERLY nations.

Farooq Apr 25, 2015 01:49pm

Excellent article!!! People like Hood boye can only write this type of articles, great

Iftekhar Hassan Apr 25, 2015 01:58pm

Unanimous declaration of bi-partisan members of the Pakistani parliament of not getting involve in Yemen conflict is an unprecedented victory for the people of Pakistan. Because, they are no longer afraid to say "NO" ! A word commonly avoided in diplomacy.

Historic evidence of identical situation. We must not to forget balance of middle-eastern harmony was destroyed when vested interest encouraged, aided and abetted Saddam Hussain to attack Iran resulting in millions of death and destruction and eventual destruction of Iraq in itself including regime of the aggressor.

Using united voice from the parliament, now put issue the right right spot for negotiation among parties with interest on this conflict. Furthermore, in any identical situation in the future middle-eastern regimes will be thinking, Pakistan is a democratic nation and power is at the hands of the people and not exclusively with despots, dictator or corrupt businessman turn Prime Minister.

Congratulation Pakistan

Zak Apr 25, 2015 02:02pm

@Avtar that's because we don't need them. But they have helped materially, in funds and equipment. But our association is a cultural and brotherly one. We may disagree on many points, but we are close to both Saudi and Iran.

T.M. Reddy Apr 25, 2015 02:03pm

@L.Ahmad: Saudi sends money to fight for them. This will not work for long. It just creates chaos as is being felt through out middle east, now.

Zak Apr 25, 2015 02:05pm

Good article, with Dr Hoodbhoy usual, ' glass is half full' attitude. But events are way ahead. Pakistan is actually the mediator between Iran and Saudi. This will come out later, when deal is done. Saudi's know the inside story, hence their instruction to all other Gulf countries , to keep quiet.

open mind and open eyes Apr 25, 2015 02:06pm

@Confused What is your point?

Tangotango Apr 25, 2015 02:22pm

They had already started the process of replacing their Asien expat workers with white Anglosexan ones. It started with white collared workers and would surely shift to the lower wage earners next. No need to fear this trend and let's get used to relaying more on our own. Deal with these kingdoms on an equal footing and say no to violence.

Salman Apr 25, 2015 02:38pm

These arab badus hate us more than anyone on this planet. I know their real face, we should think of our own national interest.

Great article PH, I hope you dont face any problems because of this article because we have many crazy people

ali Apr 25, 2015 02:43pm
            After a long time someone has written a sensible article on Yemen issue. The Saudis have always taken Pakistan as granted. The present NO state taken by Pakistan parliament  will help revive that credibilty and also self esteem of Pakistanis. Secondly, as muslims this is our duty to protect harmain sherafain and not be party of saudi political agenda in the region.              
Nadeem Apr 25, 2015 02:47pm

Agree 100% with this analysis and with the conclusion that in the long run KSA, in its own interest, will not try to inflict much pain on Pakistan.

Saif Apr 25, 2015 02:51pm

Agree completely !

ali Apr 25, 2015 02:52pm

@shyam i thinl you never had been to these countries my friend. The way they treat Pakistanis is no less than racism. Pakistanis working there for years did nt have nationality. Pakistani cant marry a saudi woman. Discrimination is all over. Other than this if helping others by destabalizing your country is not a good option. And yes by the way why they need our soldiers, they have better equipment then Pakistan, their forces are not small as well, there forces are also not deployed elsewhere like us. Only reason is that they think blood of Pakistani soldier is cheaper than a saudi or kuwaiti soldier. Again racism. God bless us

ali Apr 25, 2015 02:55pm

@Mk . Yes i think people of india, pakistan and bangladesh have common agony in middle east. Racism.

TAKhan Apr 25, 2015 02:57pm

Absolutely brilliant analysis that nobody has ever presented. You are totally spot on. Pakistani interests are not at stake for not responding to Saudi diktats but the Sharif family interests are, for not being subservient to their wishes. Basically, the Saudis are very much dependent on USA and Pakistan for obvious reasons. It is a question of survival for them.

S Bara Apr 25, 2015 03:01pm

@Sarita Talwai. Agree with you. Am too a fan of NFP. Huma Yusuf also penned great articles for Dawn. She seems to have gone a bit quite now.

Tariq, Lahore Apr 25, 2015 03:03pm

Wise words for our leaders' to ponder and adhere to!

S Bara Apr 25, 2015 03:05pm

@Amanullah Khan. And China, the all weather job.

S Bara Apr 25, 2015 03:07pm

@Avtar. Them must like the Indians then.

TAKhan Apr 25, 2015 03:08pm

@Mk Wish there were many such remarks from India.

Faraz Apr 25, 2015 03:08pm

A good article. Though Dr. Hoodbhouy has not commented on the role that Iran has also played in Pakistan by supporting the Shia extremist elements. Iran has also supported Siph -e-Muhammad and some other extremist organizations to counter Siph-e-Sahaba. It would have carried more weight if he had done justice by presenting a balanced picture.

Azam Apr 25, 2015 03:15pm

Heavens will certainly not fall if don't bend our backs for once. Core of the argument is agreed. Dr Hoodbhouy interestingly and correctly points out that Parliament's resolution voices the mood of the masses. This again leads to speculation; if will of the people is going to be honoured ?

asma tanoli Apr 25, 2015 03:21pm

@Confused We got humanatatian assistance from dozens of countries. Should we send our forces wherever there is a civil war? Hoodbhoy does not take sides but is writing what commonsense demands.

Zeeshan Apr 25, 2015 03:21pm

Excellent read, indeed! We cannot afford an open hostility on Iranain border by jumping in an overseas war, let alone the whining about sandwich state between Eastern (India) and Western (Afghanistan) borders. Yemen and Saudis are not our "strategic depth", even if, arguably, Afghanistan is.

Shabbir Apr 25, 2015 03:32pm

Fantastic article. It is well reasoned out. Pakistan does not need to act on any other countries whims and fancy.

gulzarkhan Apr 25, 2015 03:48pm

a very well written and reasonable article. salute your point of view sir.

Pakistani Apr 25, 2015 04:02pm

Well written article but Pakistan should support SA in strongest terms if it's territorial integrity is in danger. SAUDIA is not only our brother country but also houses the two most important sites and we should keep that in mind.

lafanga Apr 25, 2015 04:10pm

Agreed 100%

khalil Apr 25, 2015 04:24pm

Everyone can understand where we stand. No where in the world a science teacher teaches about politics, religion and other such things but in our country these so called teachers started teaching its people religion, history and political science. It should be very ones guess where can we stand. Mr. pervez please keep yourself to teach science to your students and don't give us these heavy doses of politics and religion which you don't even understand.

indialover Apr 25, 2015 04:38pm

Sir, yours it appears is a voice of reason. Applaud from India. Be careful as the number of religious fanatics do not like voices of reason. A well wisher from India.

Dr BN Anand Apr 25, 2015 04:59pm

By the same logic, Sir, Pakistan which calls China as all weather friend only hopes to depend on that country. Pakistan's every conflicts has been with India alone and would need Chinese support on that account. Except for verbal promises, China has never helped Pakistan in any way, whether in Bangla desk or Kargil.After all China will not fight for Pakistan as Pakistan has refused to fight for Saudis in Yemen war. What to speak of sharing nuclear secret with Saudis, Pakistan has not even responded to Saudis SOS for troops. Pakistan had been the recipient of Saudis favour both in cash and kind and is just letting down not only Saudis but the entire Arab world. So It is always truethat every country has to fight its own battles. The rest is all irrelevant.

Atul Apr 25, 2015 05:02pm

Dear Dawn, can you not open a branch of your newspaper in India? We badly miss your quality in our news media. I don't know from where you produce authors like Prof. Hoodbhoy, NFP, etc. even when overall Pakistan is going through a misery. Or may be start a forum to guide Indian newspapers and authors/bloggers?

Having said that, a brilliant article by Prof. Hoodbhoy.

Syed Ali Anwer Apr 25, 2015 05:14pm

Excellent piece, hit the nail on the head, as it is we have our plate full and are outstreched to the limit. can t serve anyone else.

Harris M Apr 25, 2015 05:30pm

@khalil I have to laugh at your comments. PH's remarks are rational, logical and prudent. It appears that you are unable to think outside the box.

Alex Apr 25, 2015 05:30pm

Marvelous piece by Dr. Hoodbhouy. People at the helm of affairs should read it again and again and again. The Government should facilitate those who want to 'shed every drop of their blood' and send them away to Saudi Arabia ASAP.

Citizen of Karachi Apr 25, 2015 05:32pm

Fully agree that we should not send troops into Yemen. However, at the same time undue chest thumping should be avoided. For better or worse, Saudia did stand by PAkistan in some difficult times. Disagree with the Saudi request by all means, but disagree as you would with a friend.

G.Sharma Apr 25, 2015 05:47pm

Very thoughtful commentary by Dr Hoodbhoy. Let's hope Pakistani Govt listens to his rational views.

Gaurav Arya Apr 25, 2015 05:54pm

The author assumes that only Pakistan can help KSA attain nuclear capability. This assumption is based on the fact that both nations are Muslim. Is this how the world works? Maybe Pakistan thinks so, for 68 years of looking through the green glass can addle the mind. If Islam was such a binding force, why did Pakistan help godless North Korea in getting nuclear capability, and not Saudi? Why is it that even after 18 years of declaring itself in possession of the much vaunted Islamic Bomb, Pakistan has not shared the technology with any other Muslim nation?

M. Siddique Apr 25, 2015 05:54pm

Very well written article. One point is that if ever Makkah or Madina are threatened by Israel or anyone else, Pakistan will no doubt be ready to defend even with nuclear weapons.

Vijay Gokhale Apr 25, 2015 05:55pm

The only reason Saudis are fuming because their Yemen strategy is a failure. The bombing is not working and they, the Saudis, know their troops would be no match for the Yemeni Rebels. This is the reason why Saudis want Pakistani troops. Its never about the gun but always about the man behind the gun.

rs Apr 25, 2015 05:59pm

Nobody disputes the decision of Pakistan to politely decline the request of the Arab states. The problem lies in the dictum " there is no free lunch in this world". To assert its interest, Pakistan needs to be economically independent. For this the solution lies internally. It cannot allow all terrorist groups free hand . As long as the present policy continues, it cannot be independent in its decisions. China also will give with some exceptions in return.

M. Siddique Apr 25, 2015 06:00pm

@Confused, O! really, how much did Saudis help, not more than any other friendly country. Turkey always took the lead.

ivehadit Apr 25, 2015 06:18pm

Always on the side of reason and rightfulness.

The lingering question: what did Pakistan secretly promise the Saudis, now that the public position is codified in law. Do the Military and the Civilian government have any liability for undermining the peoples voice expressed thru Parliament.

Kumar Apr 25, 2015 06:24pm

@Confused Please remember when there is natural calamity, the country that has helped without expectation is USA, one that is hated the most. And not Saudis or China

Kumar Apr 25, 2015 06:27pm

Arab countries, specially Saudis, have only one goal preservation of monarchies. They live luxuriously and exploit the other Muslims. Religion is just another means to that end. Pakistan will be wise to differentiate faith from rulers of Arabs.

Kumar Apr 25, 2015 06:32pm

Nice thoughtful article. I am afraid, he may be targeted by violent groups created by Saudis. I hope Government will protect him. He is a national treasure.

Zeeshan Apr 25, 2015 06:32pm

Salam an amazing article. The house of Saud has caused so many problems for the Muslim world. Their ideology is poisonous and the Ummah has suffered as a result. If it was not for the holy sites of Makkah and Medinah situated in their area of control, they would not be respected blindly by Muslims around the world. Pakistan needs to follow its own dreams and not be influenced by the house of Saud. Education is key.

EmQ Apr 25, 2015 06:35pm

i agree with the writer 100%

SYED S. ZAMAN Apr 25, 2015 06:46pm

Very well written article. It gives a lot of facts, especially the Saudi ambition to join the nuclear race. As a geophysicist, I can tell you that they have no need for nuclear reactors for energy - their oil will last generations. Like Iran who everyone questions why do they need nuclear energy to produce electricity, the same question can be asked from them why do you need 16 nuclear reactors when you are the biggest producer of natural gas and oil? Saudis are not very vocal but they have been very instrumental in spreading their extreme version of Islam every where. They do not understand that the majority of Muslims want peace and tranquility and to economically flourish and be competitive in the world. What does Saudi have to offer to the world in education, industry and science? With the Petro dollar they just buy friendship and worldly goods.

Ali (CA) Apr 25, 2015 07:00pm

We already done exactly the same. So lets focus on what we did not do right. Just a thought

amtul Apr 25, 2015 07:22pm

Please translate in to Urdu so a large number of eople understand

Tahir Khan Apr 25, 2015 07:26pm

Thank you Pervez, you are my hero.

Amir Apr 25, 2015 07:27pm

If the GCC countries act against Pakistan this would be great! That will push us to stop behaving like beggars and will force us to stand on our own feet.

sachoo Apr 25, 2015 07:32pm

@Zainab it is a sin, no doubt here.

Naseer Apr 25, 2015 07:33pm

Unfortunately Saudi Arabia is directly or indirectly responsible for Muslim in common western citizen. By giving the name of Islam to their tribal customs and their harsh and strongly biased legal system, they paint a very bad picture of Islam which is actually totally opposite to the spirit of Islam and teachings of our prophet PBUH. Now many people in West are asking what is the difference between ISIS and Saudi Arabia?

Masood Haider Apr 25, 2015 07:35pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy is an amazingly brave and courageous intellectual and thinker who minces no words in laying bare the dangers that loyalty to the house of Saud poses to Pakistan. We pray for his safety at times when whomsoever speaks the truth and talks sense is eliminated.

Shahpur Apr 25, 2015 07:36pm

Just brilliant. My salute to the author.

Fed Up Apr 25, 2015 07:37pm

@asim You can do more. Go volunteer to fight for Saudi army.

Shafiq Apr 25, 2015 07:39pm

@ SHAFIQ KHAN and others. We dont need sham democracy and the idea that all the Islamic institutions should be abolished. Try preaching this to Israel and Christian monestaries. Islam has prospered because of the Islamic institutions. Thats what the west is demanding from us, isn't it? After the second world war and demised of Othoman empire, Ata Turk demolished 46,000 such institutions. So no Islamic institutions means religiously illitrate people. That is what your western power is educating you. Either you don't seem to comprehend the history or you are too naieve. Pakistan should send it's military might to Saudi Arabia to protect Harmain Sharif. Iran being the agressor in Syrian conflict and now arming Huthis must be taught a lesson. Pakistan has a great oppotunity to command respect in Muslim world and shed the negative image.

nasiroski Apr 25, 2015 07:40pm

Regardless of the official version, who knows if the high and the mighty have not promised the extension of strategic depth to Yemen.

Mehtab Apr 25, 2015 07:46pm

@SYED S. ZAMAN nothing harm to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. But Saudi regime is a reactionary, trying to dominate Arabs through petro dollars.

A Khan Apr 25, 2015 07:47pm

@Naseer no difference. They created them. The chickens are coming home to roost. They are now scared.

ram Apr 25, 2015 08:03pm

@asim or return their $ 1.5 b.

Canada For Canadians Apr 25, 2015 08:28pm

@Avtar Saudis do not receive free billions from Pakistan nor get free oil or free anything. Who will join fight against world's second populated country,third largest economy, largest secular democracy. No nuclear bomb can contain it.

Amit Chowdhury Apr 25, 2015 08:38pm

Reasonably sound analysis. However, what is all this talk of being a "nuclear vendor"? Surely, a nation of 200 million can manage better than being the client state of a much smaller country?

iztraab Apr 25, 2015 08:39pm

Saudia is a pro Israel state and they can go to any limit to save their kingdom. Very sane decision by Pakistan and well written article.

Tariq K Sami Apr 25, 2015 08:43pm

We should send our forces to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has a stake in the Gulf. The Pakistan Military is the thorn in the eye of the Haqqanis and Hoodbhoys . They have a peevish attitude almost childish in their tantrums. The common man in Pakistan knows that our political system and institutions are not strong enough and its mostly because of military intervention. It will take time for thing to reach an even keel. But we too cannot allow the civilian governments to rob the country and bleed it dry. Pakistan needs a strong military the reasons are pure and simple; we have a five times bigger Indian forces deployed along our Eastern borders.

A Khan Apr 25, 2015 08:47pm

This is perhaps the most commented piece. Astonishingly the nation is in unison on the quality of the write up. Someone please make an effort to send this for reading to the Saudi Ambassador. I hope the Saudis will stop meddling in in our affairs through the power of money.

K.Shah Apr 25, 2015 08:47pm

Saudi king Faisal got up and danced when Ayub Khan visited the kingdom. How times have changed that now our leaders dance to the Saudi tune.

Canada For Canadians Apr 25, 2015 08:53pm

Excellent exposition . But did not elaborate that Saudi-Yemen conflict is basically a Sunni-Shia conflict as reflected in 1400 year old history. It is better not to engage in sectarian international conflicts although it has been argued Pakistan should have joined anti ISIL endeavour of middle east, otherwise this ideology would corrupt Pakistani Sunnis as Western muslims are being corrupted with this religious culture and army of death. Note: Saudi Kingdom and monarchy deserved some support as custodian of Mecca and Medina and pilgrimage of muslim world. Also nuclear bombs are unusable weapons in the present day world conflicts, which Pakistan boasts of and forgets.

TARIQ Apr 25, 2015 08:55pm

very true Mr. Hoodbhoy. Great thoughts and writing.

shafiq chughtai Apr 25, 2015 08:57pm

100% agree with You.

Iqbal Bhai Apr 25, 2015 09:12pm

Another one-sided article. Please present the complete case when you discuss an issue of international importance. Iran fueled and funded the Houthees. Where is that condemnation coming from Hoodbhoy? When Saudi reacted (or I would say, over-reacted), he took his pen and put the Saudi to blame. Please define objectively that Iran and Saudi are waging proxy wars in Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Both countries are trying to surround each other by friendly / hostile governments.

Nizar Apr 25, 2015 09:12pm

@Confused: Don't worry, the international community and the Pakistanis themselves will come to help their brethren. I am amazed you are concerned about a natural event in the future and potential loss of Saudi and Gulf countries monetary help. It is time to initiate self-reliance and throw away the begging bowl.

Madan Apr 25, 2015 09:18pm

A very good description of the relationship with Saudi Arabia and the consequences of saying 'No' to the masters'desires coupled with dire pitfalls ahead.Self respect is more important than remaining subservient of a mighty power.

Sami Apr 25, 2015 09:22pm

good reasonable but is it realistic? PM was there earlier too then went Defence Minister and then Junior PM Shahbaz ... and now PM again .... Whats they were saying in Saudis we can guess by seeing these visits and how they speak openly in media about the matter....

Tareen Apr 25, 2015 09:26pm

A superb read based on realities but on the point of Pakistani workers. Sheikhs are not habitual of working nor are skilled but they have Indians, Bangladeshis and other skilled, hardworking and low-wage laborers in the line to replace Pakistanis.

Mukhtar Apr 25, 2015 09:36pm

Voting by parliament was the most powerful statement of sovereignty by Pakistan since independence. It has set in motion a precedence that in future every foreign government will have to think hard about a common Pakistani and his interests and sentiments first and foremost. Heavy handedness and display of arrogance by Saudis, Gulf Countries or Americans will have a price they would have to think about ...

Tamilselvan Apr 25, 2015 09:37pm

@Zak Saudi's consider Pakistanis as dust in the ways they treat them in Saudi. FYI they even passed a law stating that a Saudi's marriage to a Pakistani is not even recognizable in Saudi Arabia. As much as you can decry you are more akin to Bharat and to some extent Iran. A crow can claim to be an eagle and can attempt to soar high but it ends up as an dingleberry

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 09:41pm

The Saudis were counting their chickens before they were hatched. The Saudis' fatal flaw is their arrogance. They are good businessmen but not good salesmen.

sheeda bystander Apr 25, 2015 09:53pm

Neutrality has a price that Pakistan was not willing to pay for the longest time, countries make hard decisions, all the time, often not popular, but always in national interest . Diplomacy is an art, if the objective was to stay away from a potentially hazardous situation and not to make headlines, this could have been accomplished in a subtle and benign fashion not jeopardizing Pakistan's strategic interests .. as always good job hoodbhouy

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 09:53pm


    He made that "statement" for you to read.
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 09:55pm


    Then don't be a fan.  Be a patriot.
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 09:57pm


    Yes.  The Saudis are just so special.  They are not used to being denied anything.
Omar Apr 25, 2015 10:00pm

although what the writer has said is a good observation / suggestion / idea /reality .... but I saw BUT our past and present don't reflect all this .... i am sure the PM must have kneeled down on his recent visit and would have told the monarch that our men are coming but in indian uniform if acceptable .... we are known to bow down and play games with our nation ....

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:00pm


    For exactly the same reason Palestinians do not spend much time working there.
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:03pm


    Touche'.  The air is rushing out of the balloon.
Umer Apr 25, 2015 10:03pm

The cheap labour argument is weak, since sending back Pakistani labour is easy for cheap unskilled labour from another. However, he rightly points out that our other 'weapon', no pun intended, the nuclear option is what gives Pakistan a relatively strong position - for now!

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:05pm


    Please sir,  define the Muslim ummah.
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:11pm


    Yes it was the perfect candid photo.  Not the kind Atif Zardari would be seen in.  Very much like Obama and Netanyahu.  A look of exasperation.  Meaning always the same never ending demands.
    The Saudis are like my wife.  They don't listen.  Same thing the next day.  They've heard nothing you said the previous day.
AJ Apr 25, 2015 10:12pm

@shyam when was the last time Saudi troops came to Pakistan's aid? May be Saudi's can send some fighter jets to Pakistan to fight the Talibans... didn't think so.

Dr. D. Prihipaul Apr 25, 2015 10:13pm

Fundamentally though, the hard fact is that Pakistan has not yet found its centre of gravity as it keeps searching for a still centre where it can settle its moral and material autonomy .

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:13pm


    Probably right.
Raja Apr 25, 2015 10:16pm

Very well written. And as far as Pakistanis in SA and UAE are concerned, they have never been treated fairly anyway.

Keti Zilgish Apr 25, 2015 10:26pm

Should not there be any accountability for the $1.5 b that Pakistan got?

Yameen Apr 25, 2015 10:30pm

@mike hasan USA Friends not Masters was President Ayub Khan's book reminding America that we are friends (in SEATO and CENTO) and that you are not our masters.

Keti Zilgish Apr 25, 2015 10:30pm

Sure looks like Pakistan was created for the benefit of the Arabs.

Pragmatic Apr 25, 2015 10:31pm

When US declined India's request for GPS support during Kargil war, India started building their own and succeeded. Moral of the story is, if KSA does not get expected level of co-op from Pakistan, they will develop alternatives. Slowly but surely.

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:32pm

@Zoha Zubery

    Did you miss the eight year war between Iran and Iraq?
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:33pm

@Sarita Talwai

    You can say that again!
CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:34pm


    Yes...and Pakistan is now forced to fight it's own fight.
Raju Apr 25, 2015 10:41pm

Special Report: The odd-couple relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel may have been sealed with more than a mutual desire to kiss-off Iran. According to an intelligence source, there was a dowry involved, too, with the Saudis reportedly giving Israel some $16 billion, writes Robert Parry. I suggest you all to open the link below:

CYRUS Apr 25, 2015 10:43pm


    No one could have stated the case better than you have.  

Only the Saudis have so much money, real estate and investments around the world they are their own masters - money buys influence. Part of the dynamic is that Egypt is reluctant to send their army because they have their own problems at home. They fought three wars for Saudi Arabia against the Israelis and they are tired of war.

shah Apr 25, 2015 10:50pm

Saudis kings and princes can fight their own wars. Pakiatanis have no quarrell with Yemenis and will not kill them on paymet of petrodollars.

Keti Zilgish Apr 25, 2015 10:51pm

I am very grateful to Pervez for providing the world this opportunity to understand exactly why the British Monarchy favored the House Of Saud in the first place but the trouble is that I doubt whether the Saudis know that they have been taken for a ride.

Tamilselvan Apr 25, 2015 10:53pm

@Masood Haider 100% agree. Looks intellectuals and brave people be it man, woman or a child seem to be on the hit list of terrorists in Pakistan. Mallala, the lady who got killed yesterday, Dawn journalist just to name a few.

Fakhir Apr 25, 2015 10:53pm

Very good and true. Actually truth speaks for itself. Thanks for expressing the real point of view of all true Pakistanis.

Fatima Malik Apr 25, 2015 10:57pm

Spot on!!!! KSA is using and misusing Pakistan. Sadly our so called leaders/politicians are blinded by the heinous crimes of KSA and compromise on the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. Let me remind them; we will not get sold by the Saudi money!

Aziz Apr 25, 2015 11:30pm

All warm feelings of friendship and brotherliness are strictly on a government to government level. Not on government to people of Pakistan level.

The treatment of common Pakistanis at all level is disdainful, disrespectful and lacks class or culture.

Perhaps the Royal elites there have yet to learn that Pakistanis are gradually controlling the affairs of the state themselves.

Buying the Zias, Sharifs, Zardaris and Musharrafs with expensive gifts and personal donations and then demanding a pound of flesh from the people of Pakistan will not happen any more. Saying NO to them is a part of this process.

siddique Apr 25, 2015 11:32pm

good article.

Shaukat chughtai Apr 25, 2015 11:41pm

@EmQ I salute Mr. hood hoy for an excellent truthful article. God blessed with the courage to speak as a patriotic Pakistani,

R Kashmiri Apr 25, 2015 11:47pm

Very well written and thought out.

Tamilselvan Apr 26, 2015 12:40am

@Amanullah Khan think you are missing the point. He is not suggesting that Pakistan stands by IRAN. He states that it is not a smart thing for your government to do the fighting for Saudi and moreover Iran has not asked Pakistan for soldiers or mercinaries to do the fighting .

KM Apr 26, 2015 12:41am

I do agree with the article, but there are many a compulsions too. All have to be taken into consideration. Its not that Pakistan is all inclusive that world cannot live without it. You have to balance everything in international relations, looking at the future too.

KM Apr 26, 2015 12:42am

@Sarita Talwai Come on don't go overboard here.

Sohail Pirzada Apr 26, 2015 12:45am

Had it been NS n his government or even Military Dictator, the decision would have been different. Thanx to the democracy n parliament who made a wise decision.

KM Apr 26, 2015 12:45am

@Zak You were asked to take a stand, which you didn't. Pakistan sided with Saudis, by calling Houthis to stop fighting. You think Iran didn't notice this.

Sohail Pirzada Apr 26, 2015 12:47am

Indeed I support the views expressed by Pervez Sahib... job well done!!!

ZAIN Apr 26, 2015 01:03am

@Confused You are truly confused. We are in this mess and under sanctions bcos of these saudis. Out with them

Farooq Apr 26, 2015 01:08am

Our main problem has always been that we are too extreme in our foreign policy. We need wise and brave dimplomats who can difuse the situation and also save Pakistan from isolation wether it be from Europe, USA or Middle east. We need to keep everyone happy and at the same time not to compromise our national interest. This can onyl happen when we will have completely independent members of parliament with some knowledge and experience of diplomacy.

ZAIN Apr 26, 2015 01:09am

@Pakistani You need to open your mind first. Those two important islamic structures belong to ALL muslims, of all schools of thought - not just the family that has usurped power and called itself the house of saud

V.K. Tandon (USA) Apr 26, 2015 01:13am

The writer of this article has spoken mind of all right thinking people in and out of Pakistan. The saudis are wasting their ill gotten billions and committing war crimes by shedding blood of innocent Yemenis already afflicted by their internal feuds and conflicts fueled by USA. I do not see any good coming out of this criminal and wasteful Saudi led aggression against all tenets of Islam.

KM Apr 26, 2015 01:28am

@Pakistani and you think those 2 Holy sites are responsibility of Pakistan only. Grow up. And who bought these 02 Holy sites in the Yemen conflict discussion? Any Guesses? Our establishment. Govt. just wanted to confuse the issue that's why the said we, Pakistanis are prepared to Protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia and also of the 02 Holy sites. Nowhere in the entire discussions Saudis had asked us for their territorial protection or for the protection of the 02 Holy sites. Their demand was simple (if I may say so) and to the point : We want your troops in Yemen. That's it. Wonder how the author also failed to mention this

KM Apr 26, 2015 01:35am

"Pakistan also stands squarely in the middle of all avenues that could lead to an eventual indigenous Saudi nuclear weapons capability, which the kingdom so strongly desires."

I would choose to disagree here with the author. Many countries would be ready to provide Nuclear umbrella or facilities to Saudi Arabia, with right price. And moreover, now Saudis know, that when needed Pakistan did not stand by them and that in future too Pakistan will not stand besides them, so they too have learnt the lessons. I don't think at all that they would ask us for any help in near future let alone nuclear umbrella. This also is part of the fall out in addition to the many issues raised by the author.

independentthinker Apr 26, 2015 01:37am

Pakistan is an independent state, which must not and will not be intimidated by any foreign power, be it Saudi Arabia or the United States. Once we are clear about this, we will be on our way to regaining our country back and the terrorists that are being funded by these foreign powers, will soon realize Pakistan is not a safe haven for them.

ak Apr 26, 2015 01:40am

I think Pakistan should immediately start on a long term plan to stand up to the US as well. Once and for all, big brotherly doles and aid packages that stifle sovereignty should be done away with. Poor or rich, Pakistanis should manage with their own resources. Full stop. The other thing Pakistan must do away with is its India obsession. Nobody in India rally cares about Pakistan and Pak should also treat India as just a neighbour, and not an enemy. Keep talking about pending issues that exist, but for god sake, India doesn't care enough to be Pakistan's enemy. Accept that reality.

Can'tstayquite Apr 26, 2015 01:50am

Our workers remit $700 million per month from GCC countries to Pakistan. Does anyone has a number what we receive from Iran?

zq Apr 26, 2015 02:19am

Hello Dr. Houdhbhouy.. This is Zaheer in Houston and as we have met at the Westin & Omni Hotels in Houston during your visit I am very proud of the fact that the country has someone like you who can speak the truth and I wish someone would lecture these corrupt politicians such as Nawaz and Zardari and let Nawaz know that he cannot sell the country and Pakistan is not the same what it was 20 years ago. I totally agree with you that we must stay firm and not get involve as we definitely will come out stronger. We must get rid of the BEGGER mentality!!

zq Apr 26, 2015 02:22am

@shyam Yes this is exactly how the game must be played!! You have a problem with it!!! Go to Saudi..

Proud Pakistani Apr 26, 2015 02:30am

Great article & very balanced analysis ... Please we don't want to import Saudi version of Islam anymore ... NS must put end to this funding game as well from any foreign country including KSA .. These Arab countries cannot kick a single Pakistani out as someone has to do their work & they can't get intelligent & cheaper labour from anywhere else ... Keep it up NS ... So far great work ... We don't want to take any side ... As simple as that ...

Zehra karmali Apr 26, 2015 02:48am

V good artical

Zia Apr 26, 2015 03:22am

When beggars start becoming choosers, somebody will be angry!

If angers and action creates financial issues, then perhaps it is time to stop begging.

Lalit Apr 26, 2015 03:40am

I worked there (KSA) and (I) know very well how they treat Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Asian workers. They have no clue how to do any hard work. They get interest free loan from the government, good jobs and they use this to have good life. Just wait till they run out of oil. It will be a game changer.

Atif Jafri Apr 26, 2015 04:00am

@Confused: Why don't we learn to help ourselves!

Pakistani Apr 26, 2015 04:01am

Pakistan is a sovereign country and should not be dictated no matter who it is. Our General is a sensible person and does not wish Pakistan to be dragged across the ocean. We call saudi's our friend only when they send us petro dollars? how far have they helped us eradicate sectarian violence in the country ? how far did the other so called friendly Arab states help us ? If Pakistan has to pay hard consequences then let it come ! All the money and brain that comes back is going to flourish Pakistan I feel proud to be Pakistani when I met a Saudi guy who asked me my citizenship and when I told him I am from Pakistan he started telling me how people in Saudi love Pakistani people as If I don't know how that love and affection is. This is a turning point for Pakistan and we should play our cards well, if we had FRIENDS we would not be fighting extremism in the first place. !!!Long live Pakistan and it's people !!!!

Aeyaz Kayani Apr 26, 2015 04:13am

Some questions to ask:

  1. Since skilled people from many poor countries are desperate to go to Saudi, how is terminating Pakistani contracts and making alternate arrangements not viable for Saudis?

  2. Surely if a nuclear umbrella is actually needed, the US, which has traditionally guaranteed Saudi security is quite capable of providing it, right?

  3. Is the power of the House of Saud in any real danger? So far there is much rhetoric regarding this and no facts to show that there is any real danger. Just like the Arab Spring left it completely untouched.

  4. Can the fomenting of extremist elements in Pakistan not be seen as an issue independent of whether we need to support this particular Saudi action? It seems consistent to block the former and support the later.

  5. Is it fair to call primarily GCC anger at Pakistan "Arab anger" when there are many more Arabs (e.g. in much of North Africa)?

  6. Is there a solid realpolitik argument (rather than an ethical one) for neutrality?

Sukhera Apr 26, 2015 04:50am

UAE minister’s remarks that Pakistan will “pay heavy price for ambiguous stand” are very real. NS has taken it very seriously and made many trips to SA and I don’t blame him. Millions of Pakistanis work in SA/Gulf states and send millions of dollars every month to pay for the necessary imports. These remittances are very important at this time because Pakistan exports have dwindled due to the energy crunch.The government also knows that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi expelled at least 150,000 Pakistanis residing in Libya after Qaddafi’s appeals of clemency to spare Bhutto's were rejected by Zia. Many countries including Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh are ready to send their labor force if Pakistanis are expelled from SA.The US is supporting SA and has dispatched USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier group to the Yemeni Coast. Lastly, I doubt that Pakistan will provide nuclear weapons to SA because of its commitment not to transfer nuclear technology to other countries.

Sami Qureshi Apr 26, 2015 05:14am

This article was the need of the day.

Taimoor khan Apr 26, 2015 05:40am

I may sound ridiculous but these present times remind of one punjabi sufi baba who ones say which can be translate into "In Pakistan yay or nay, other nations fate will be sealed".

Agha Asad Raza Apr 26, 2015 06:03am

A sensible article and well written, I just hope the government listens! We should NOT side with anyone and remain neutral!

Mohammed Ali Rizvi Apr 26, 2015 06:46am

Dr. Hoodobhoy, Pakistan’s concerns should become National –Centric and not so to say, Muslim centric, if Pakistan is to survive. Your analysis of the gulf conundrum is very precise and thought provoking.

Coming back to Pakistan, and speaking about the proposed Chinese investments lot of skilled and trained manpower is now required; you have to make arrangements to provide for their comfortable stay, and vocational Schools for technical trade skills. These need to be planned & implemented right away to provide for the requirements for later years when the Chinese Projects are in full swing.

Some kind of township(s) has to be developed in the hinterland of Gwadar, with Schools hospitals, hotels, roads, houses, and civic amenities, of a permanent nature, get town planners and designers, and come up with blue print, projections and get financed from the newly formed Chinese global bank and start the work.

Drinking Water is an issue at Gwader, get a project going for Desalination etc. and seek separate finance from global institutions for this, with Chinese Road network & subsequent business opportunities, this becomes workable.

Enroute from Gwader to China, satellite townships along the highway could become hubs for growth, to encourage trade. Plan and implement these.

The 40 odd Billion Dollar investments should spawn into at least an investment of three times of that amount as a consequence. Regards, Mohammed Ali Rizvi Markham, ON Canada

Masood Apr 26, 2015 07:11am

@Kautiliya Why not ? If China is helping Pakistan with such a massive assistance in all fields, then Pakistan can at least provide them with a Grand Trunk Road all the way to Turkey and beyond. This will be beneficial not only to China, but Pakistan Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan can earn a good transit fee and provide various facilities to the Chinese.

Raheem Apr 26, 2015 07:20am

Where as India is Enjoying its Supreme foreign policy. Today India is being treated as well deserved to be part of any countries strategetic partner start from Australian Waters to Arabian waters to South China Sea by ASEAN nations. India has no enemies otherthan Pakistan. China and India do multi Billion dollors inspite of Boarder disputes. Today even China worried of Elephant India because China seeks support from Elephant conflict with South China sea and One China policy Taiwan interface.

abdullah malik Apr 26, 2015 07:34am

@Zainab you are right we should not equate Saudi Arabia with Islam but should we not equate ourselves with Islam and ask for guidance, should we not actively oppose the one who is creating fuss in the world and that too in the name of Islam. I guess we should realize that its not wise to wait till the fire starts eventually burning us as well but to try and stop the fire at the very ground zero, and in this case help the countries which are putting out fire in Yemen, if you dont like the word Islam associated with these countries or us. Because if you dont no one will support you in your civil war against so called Taliban. In the global community you are helped only if you are helpful to others by whatever means, and also you dont shout and say hey my nuclear bucket is spilling over.

Random thoughts Apr 26, 2015 07:52am

Very good article. I would urge Pakistan to adopt a secular framework of governance and close shop of all religious (preaching extremist idealogy). It will do your country tremendous good.

Faisal Ayub Apr 26, 2015 07:53am

@farzana Source of income

Mohisne Apr 26, 2015 08:02am

@Keti Zilgish absolutely right there should be an strict accountability, but not only for that, probably millions and billions we got for killing brothers in Afghanistan and KPK during Musharraf regime. and millions if not billions we got for handing over Aimal Kansi, and likes during "democratically elected political regimes" .

riaz khan Apr 26, 2015 08:18am

Yes if Saudi's are buying nuclear reactors who is going to run them. May be Israel if not Pakistani scientists and technicians Saudi' monarch can't stand a chance to survive more then a year if they dump Pakistan ... There are reasons for that.

AbdulHaque Shaikh Apr 26, 2015 08:24am

Very good article. House of Saud should not forment secretarian difference in Islam. They have tons of money in foreign banks.

Zak Apr 26, 2015 09:43am

@Keti Zilgish pakistan was created for benefit of world. That's why any crisis in region, all run to pakistan to solve it.

Afzal Apr 26, 2015 10:04am

@Shahid if Govt provide the support ASWJ will go there without any delay

Apr 26, 2015 10:11am

@Me Last time Iran attacked I think was Sparta - it is quite delusional of the Arab States to even consider them an enemy - Iran is actually fighting with their masters in tel Aviv occupied Palestine

Pervez Apr 26, 2015 10:18am

@Hafiz hehee. GOOD ONE.

KM Apr 26, 2015 12:07pm

@Avtar But why would they send for wrong purpose. Like us, Arabs don't look at Indians thru a narrow prism.

rahbar Apr 26, 2015 12:10pm

@shyam And what about supporting all those Talibans to wreck havoc in Pakistan ? All those madressahs that Saudis so happily fund ?

Saudi is no friend of Pakistan. If they were, Pakistan would not be in energy crisis all the time. Our need is cheap energy so why don't they give that to us ?

there are no friends or enimies in diplomacy. Only interests. Its in Pakistans best interest to stay away from Saudi mentality.

Khalid Apr 26, 2015 12:20pm

Great article! Pskistan giving "two finger salute" to ths saudi's.

Ali Apr 26, 2015 12:27pm

Mr confused,,,, i think you are already confused so you need to read the article three times more to understand what Hoodbhouy is trying to make us understand as a Nation. And If you are taxi driver at Saudi Arab than even NS can not make you understand.

Salam Mahmood Ahmed Apr 26, 2015 12:56pm

I disagree with the writer that Iran opposes US wars in the middle east. Without Iranian support the US would not have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran welcome US intervention if it is in their interest.

parveez Apr 26, 2015 03:24pm

FIRST Pakistan , then see what is best in OUR interest. Of cause its a different matter when it comes to the two holy sites. We have to protect them at any cost. But these Saudis royals are a waste of time.

valiya Apr 26, 2015 04:18pm

Be Pakistani first and Muslim second then most of the problems facing by Pakistan will be resolved.

Hassan Apr 26, 2015 04:58pm

Dawn please publish this in urdu. The common men of Pakistan need to hear this....

Zainab Apr 26, 2015 06:18pm

@Salam Mahmood Ahmed Saudi Arabia and Iran supported invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq for two very different reasons. Saudis Kings rightfully considered the Talebans as threat to the "House of Saud", and not because of fear of losing their country, while Iran and Afghanistan share a long border and eventually the turmoil bought about by the Talebans in Afghanistan would have spilled over into Iran. A clear example of that fear is the situation in Pakistan. Just look what Talebans are doing in Pakistan and the government is helpless to fight them.

Aqil Siddiqi Apr 26, 2015 06:26pm

@niju I agree with U 100 %.

Zainab Apr 26, 2015 06:36pm

@Shafiq I do not know which history books you are reading, but I am glad these books were not available to me.

Afroze Apr 27, 2015 12:46am

I have learned something new: a physicist can be a prolific writer. Well -written, professor.

Naseem Khan Apr 27, 2015 01:58am

Once again, Pervez Hoodbhoy analyzed the situation going deep beneath the surface. He is absolutely right about Saudi Arabia and the other Arab countries. They are the main culprits in creating the chaos in the Muslim countries and defaming Islam all over the world. Their threats against Pakistan reflect their arrogance and clearly show how much they care for Muslim's welfare. The sooner we stop patronizing them, the better it will be for our future. Thank you Mr. Hoodbhoy for being a voice of wisdom.

Zia Apr 27, 2015 03:26am

Pakistan did not do it because it suddenly gathered courage somehow but in big picture of changing geopolitical situation in the area , probably, it was told to refrain to side with Saudis. Time will tell.

Pakistani First Apr 27, 2015 06:42am

The Saudis need to be more realistic. They do not even exercise complete control over their own money; let alone their allies. All their money lies in American banks, and they can't even draw it when they like. Their wishes would have to coincide with the convenience of these US banks. Their monetary dealings with countries like Pakistan, are done primarily, from the petty cash they carry on themselves, in their side-pockets, with which they buy petty politicians.

sfnad Apr 27, 2015 06:43am

Thanks ! you just hit the nail in the head.

Abbas Apr 27, 2015 07:53am

Let them fume!

We even can't afford this.

Waqas Apr 27, 2015 07:57am

I am not in favor of going to war with Yemen when our own house is on fire ..but Pakistan should consider ground realities. Pakistan does not have the economy to fight a full scale conventional war with India that would sustain for more than 4 to 5 days. Saudi is the only country that could fund Pakistan in times of need. China , Iran and Turkey would not spend a dime when the time ever comes to that. Pakistan needs to go with caution here . Pakistan should commit 10,000 peace keeping soldiers inside Yemen under UN charter like it did in Somalia while not actually being engaged in war but be a peace observer.

Abbas Apr 27, 2015 07:59am

Let them fume!

We even can't afford this and the present government either irrespective of moods on the street as if that even matters.

Shaukat Khan Apr 27, 2015 08:39am

It is amazing Mr. Hoodbhoy who normally wants Pakistan to give up its nuclear weapons places a big part of his argument on it!

Weirdity Apr 27, 2015 09:13am

HOODBHOY is one brave Pakistani who is not bought by the GCC guys or cowed down by their threats.

"Nawaz Sharif and his government had given the Arabs an impression that this nation stands at their beck and call"

Absolutely spot on! After Pakistan accepted gifts and made loud unrealistic proclamations, the gulf arabs were expecting pakistan to dance to their tunes. Now they feel that Pakistan has done a bait and switch on them. So its not just the GCC guys but the pakistan government who is responsible for this sorry situation.

Like hoodbhoy said, they just can't sent back all the pakistani expats. Its not realistic. but they will start playing with visa rules for pakistani expats.

bimalwilliam Apr 27, 2015 09:43am

More than three decades we have seen rivalry between USA and Iran. It seems USA is being replaced by Saudi Arabia. After the nuclear deal we see a fair amount of change in American Policy. But war between Saudi and Houthis is going to complicate the situation. So it is the Talk among different faction will lead to some kind of solution.Otherwise Yemen is on the verge of being a failed state where bloodbath and suffering of innocent civilians will become a common and daily feature.Thru war nobody has achieved anything and nothing will be achieved in future too.

Ck Apr 27, 2015 09:50am

The arrogance of the Saudis is unbelievable .... Even when they want a favour from Pakistan, PM Nawaz Sharief is summoned to Saudi Arabia !!! Why does the PM have to rush to Saudi (2 visits in 3 months !) on their beckoning ??? If they want such favours, courtesy demands that the top people should come over to Pak and make the request.

khawaja saif Apr 27, 2015 10:05am

Muslim's thinking is not limited to its own country a muslim nation thinks for whole ummah. Mindset in pakistan is created to protect pakistan only even if any other muslim country destroyed does not matter pakistan should remain this thinking of a muslim? Can u so called seculars justify? Its a war between mindsets...

Ramna Q Venkat Apr 27, 2015 10:11am

@Sudhanshu Swami Your thinking is very focused and limited to jobs and earnings. With such materialistic attitude No wonder why we are seen as not a happy nation. Strong but unhappy whats the point!

Faisal Apr 27, 2015 10:13am

@Confused Pakistanis should learn to help themselves first than going out with a begging bowl to someone who considers them their servants. Also an earthquake or sanction is a completely different situation than participating in a war that has nothing to do with the Pakistani population and may infact make our domestic security situation worse.

J s Pawar Apr 27, 2015 10:41am


abu bakr Apr 27, 2015 12:48pm

beautiful document for a THROUGH READ for Pakistanis

XYZ Apr 27, 2015 12:55pm

@Confused Only if our national and military policies haven't been against Iran, then they may have been more friends than enemies. It takes two to quarrel.

KM Apr 27, 2015 04:13pm

@khawaja saif Charity begins at home. Likewise .......

Sarwat Apr 27, 2015 06:32pm

@shyam But there is no attack on Saudi soil, so what's the fuss about. The Saudis are on the offensive. Pakistan never said it would be accompanying them on their offensive ventures. Besides its only Pakistani brigade permanently placed in KSA to protect it from any foriegn aggression, I don't see anyone else doing that. Great article articulating the ground realities. Please shun that slave mentality.

jalal akbar Apr 27, 2015 06:36pm

very well written article.Pakistanis need to show some spine and standup.There is no need to pander to these Arab monarchies who never worked for their wealth.Nobody should listen to them let them solve their own problems and send their own young men to fight this meaningless war.

observer Apr 27, 2015 06:45pm

Pakistan as a nation has to understand that, we are not Arabs, never has been and never will be. Let them settle their issues, and we settle ours. They think we are fools, and we think similarly, that would be the real issue.

Hassan Parvez Apr 27, 2015 08:16pm

@Faisal You should read news papers more often. Its Saudi Arabia which is bombing the innocent and poor citizens of Yemen. Saudi Arabia is in no danger, nobody attacked them.

shainz Apr 27, 2015 08:23pm

Dr.hoodbhouy.....thanx for writing such a beautiful and perfect article......u have strick right string..... A true physicist succeeded in striking right string.....u must hv defnitly better understanding of STRING THEORY too......

Hassan Parvez Apr 27, 2015 08:34pm

@Shafiq khan You are so right. 100% agree with you.

Janam Apr 27, 2015 08:44pm

All Muslim countries should reflect on this 'master stroke' by the West. They have been unable to fulfil their dreams in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now have switched to a different strategy of letting Muslims destroy each other.

Everyone know why Yemen and Somalia have been destabilised. If you look at the map that is a controlling point for Red Sea. And guess what? whose survival depends on it !! The Zionists who have now occupied the Muslim lands since 1948.

Rehan Apr 27, 2015 08:44pm


NV Apr 27, 2015 09:02pm

@Hafiz : Remember - no one is a freiend other than your own self. Everyone else has their own interests/hidden agendas. Decide what can make Pak a strong self sustained country rather than depending on SA or China. Once you understand my suggestion, you will have the right prescription. else, one day, China will also bang Pak. Its matter of time.

Faras Khan Apr 27, 2015 10:33pm

We have a long standing relationship with Iran let us not forget that it was Farsi that my grandfather spoke along with Urdu and English and that the Muslim Empire in India spoke Farsi as the official language of Government.

We have far greater historical and blood ties with Iran then any Arab nation. But lest not forget we are Muslims first.

Patriot Apr 27, 2015 10:36pm

It is better to stand alone with pride than being a slave to others. Let the Saudis fight and die for their own cause. A Pakistani life is as valuable as any Saudis life.

Faras Khan Apr 27, 2015 10:36pm

@niju Yes but the fact is it is India that is the wrong by forcing Kashmiris to stay with India.

The people of Kashmir and the UN resolution is clear. Kashmir must decide its own faith.

Shah Apr 27, 2015 11:01pm

Probably one of the best decisions that Pakistan has made. No reason to go meddle in another country's internal affairs. Saudi's use people and all they wanted to do is use Pakistani's for their own purposes.

Ahmed Raza Apr 27, 2015 11:30pm

Pakistan should follow the policy which serves it national interests whether if it benefits by send the military. More likely situation right now is benefiting Pakistan if it prefers to play a role of moderator and try to provide a platform for negotiations. Pakistan cannot afford another rival neither in neighbors nor in Middle East. Saudi Arabia too understands that it has to work more for confidence building keeping Pakistan’s political and strategic interests.

Ali Raza Apr 28, 2015 12:11am

@shyam so Yemen is not a muslim nation?

z. khan Apr 28, 2015 01:14am

@Zainab I think Pakistanis are politically mature enough specially the people in the north of the country. Southern Punjab may take some time to come to terms with this situation. Have you heard any politician talking in favor of sending army to Saudi Arabia, including amiat ulma islam.

muhibbewatan Apr 28, 2015 01:37am

@Confused Let's not talk petty here. Look at the larger picture and you will agree with the author. Self-respecting Pakistanis will take this nation forward, not self-seekers who have a myopic view of such critical issues confronting a great Islamic country like Pakistan.

Atif Khan Apr 28, 2015 06:14am

What a well written article - something that even our top notch journalists will find tough to beat.

I am so proud that Pakistan (this soil, this environment) and produce someone like you. You are truly our treasure Pervez Hoodbhoy. And please impart your students with the same critical thinking mind that the Almighty has endowed with.

Live a thousand years!

deven Apr 28, 2015 07:30am

Agreed Pakistan is the only state in the world which can sell nuclear secrets to Saudi Arabia. For that matter anyone who is willing to pay in cash or kind like North Korea which stands in line of rogue states ext to Pakistan.

amir Apr 28, 2015 09:01am

Bravo! courageously and correctly well written...!

Clear Apr 28, 2015 11:42am

Concern that Pakistani workers will be expelled from gulf states or Saudi is there in Government concern, but think again if Saudi has to punish they will like to do direct response, that will be directly to Nawaz and team. And what can be the best way to start, definity nationalize or take over the Nawaz and aides' property in their domain. That's what concerns our leadership not the Pakistanis working abroad.

Anonymous Apr 28, 2015 12:01pm

@Shahid Haha, that's one hell of a good solution! I wouldn't mind my tax money being spent here.

zafar iqbal Apr 28, 2015 01:27pm

@s.khan your right. It is fight for power. Iranian power in Yemen!!!!

Sajjad Khan Apr 28, 2015 01:49pm

Great artical Prof Sahib, but ther real threat posed to this country comes from indulging in wars as there is no adequate military-industrial complex to sustain any long term misadventure in the name and sake of Islam as these medievel kings are no democrats at home anyway. The reaction from these kings and princes is understandable as they are asking for partioning of Pakistan army with Sunni soldiers only. This will inevitably result in more country wide strife and sectarian conflict not to forget straining relations with our immediate neighbour Iran. In the end result it may lead to Pakistan's own annihilation and the country should keep out of all conflicts everywhere, anywhere.

Sajjad Khan Apr 28, 2015 01:51pm

@Avtar Sardar Ji, you are damn right. Thanks for opening eyes of these fanatics.

Rafiullah Apr 28, 2015 02:12pm

@Confused Can you survive after inciting sectarianism in your homeland??? i think its price would be much higher,,,which Islam justifies killing of shia muslims....and plz note that i m a Sunni not a Shia but i only wish to see my home clean of sectarianism

Chill irfan Apr 28, 2015 02:13pm

Who wants soldiers when they can rely on engineers of AQ Khan type who will help them build the first and TRULY ISlamic Bomb KSA...

Farah Apr 28, 2015 02:27pm

@shyam Perhaps self- reliance will come the hard way. We cant always be looking for external support.

E.somapalan Apr 28, 2015 04:34pm

The very correct attitude. This should be the policy of international relation of all conties towards each other

fariha Apr 28, 2015 09:36pm

What a fantastic article, Sir. Be safe always.

hameed Apr 28, 2015 11:07pm

cool one Dr. Hoodbuoy. Atlast pakistan is now limping away from the chokehold of saudis.But u r not very explicit in ur observations. What saudis did(attacking a soverign nation) is like...behaving like the USA, with utter disregard for international law.. i hope pakistan does not go down with the opaque monarchs. Seeing from happy to see a wise decision from pakistanis.

Zack Apr 28, 2015 11:26pm

@Tamilselvan Well said!!

BNS Apr 29, 2015 05:49am

Irrespective of the fact if what the writer said is right or wrong, these sensitive issues does not warrant so balck and white comments. Let diplomats handle these amicably.

Gautam Apr 29, 2015 06:11am


"Iran" is not a monolithic entity and never has been, in its rich and complex history. There are many groups exercising power and influence, and competing with each other in subtle and not-so subtle ways.

Khomeini came to power with perhaps only 5-8% of the population in DIRECT support of his agenda or philosophy. So also the Bolsheviks, with a smaller proportion of the population supporting them in Russia, ditto China.

Hence, the term "Iran" needs to be used with caution, when even the Saudi royal family is riven by complex competing centers of power and philosophical outlooks.

Gautam Apr 29, 2015 06:26am


Examine closely your statement. The strategic minds in Pakistan should not even contemplate a war, howsoever limited, with India. It should be absolutely ruled out. Why? "The most expensive peace is cheaper than the smallest war".

How so? The 1965 war, an entirely irresponsible and optional choice, as also the 1971 and 1948 and 1999 Kargil misadventure, set Pakistan back economically by decades. We have statements by a responsible Chief of the Pakistan Air Force, responsible Pakistani economists and others, not one of whom is out to denigrate Pakistan and whose patriotism is beyond any doubt.

B These wars set Pakistan back by at least 20-30 years, in terms of development and economic growth. AT LEAST. Any war will set Pakistan back by at least as much.

What did Bhutto, Yahya Khan or Musharraf gain from their presumed cleverness, do you suppose? What has it gotten for Pakistan? NOTHING.

War is not child's play and ideas do have consequences.

Ahmed Apr 29, 2015 10:20pm

There is no second thought when you have to select on country between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran has always remain Indias friend while Saudia has always supported Pakistan in the needy time.

Faraz Apr 29, 2015 10:20pm

Pakistan should support Saudia instead of relying on a country(Iran) who has allowed their bases to India to attack Pakistan whenever they want to.

Farooq Sheikh May 01, 2015 01:18am

A superb analysis. Totally agree with Dr. Hoodbhouy one of very rare sane Pakistanis.

Farooq Sheikh May 01, 2015 01:22am

@niju Totally agree with you!

Maqsood May 02, 2015 07:16am

I would like to point out just one thing here, Saudis are incapable of fighting small rebel group 'Houthis'. They need help from Pakistan in the form of military personnel, fighter jets, naval ships etc to fight against the Houthis. they need help from a country whose defence budget is a fraction of Saudi Defence budget of 60 to 80 billion a year. I don't understand, what have they bought for that much of money that they still need help from a third world country like Pakistan to fight a small rebel group. Imagine if Saudi Arabia is attacked by a full Military of another country. To me these Saudi royals are the most useless people on the earth, incapable of defending their own land.