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Coalition at a price

Updated Dec 23, 2015 09:34am

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The writer is a former legal adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The writer is a former legal adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Saudi Arabia recently announced the formation of an Islamic military alliance for combating terrorism consisting of 34 Muslim-majority states. After some initial confusion, the Pakistani government confirmed its participation in this coalition, but without stating whether it would be willing to commit troops abroad. The credibility of this alliance is questionable, since Syria, and Shia-majority Iran and Iraq, have not been included. Without the collaboration and support of these three key states, the Middle East stands little chance of neutralising the militant Islamic State group.

The US has welcomed the Saudi announcement — behind closed doors, it might even have pressured the Saudi government to initiate this project. The US presidential election is less than a year away, and the Obama administration is under intense pressure from the Republicans for not doing enough to battle IS. The US does not want to commit boots on the ground; it wants friendly Arab nations to commit resources and soldiers for fighting IS.

Ironically, the rise of IS can be partially credited to the US: its inference and military adventurism in the Middle East, including by arming rebels many of whom later joined IS, has significantly weakened state policing and military institutions in the region. The US desired regime change in Libya and Syria. It succeeded in Libya by astutely getting the Security Council to acquiesce in its military involvement on the premise of protecting human rights. But on Syria, both Russian and China vetoed any Security Council resolution authorising the use of force against the established government.


We can’t afford to get drawn into unnecessary international wars.


A pivotal question arises: is the primary objective of the Saudi military alliance to neutralise terrorist groups which control swathes of territory and subjugate populations under their occupation, or is the aim to protect regimes in specific countries while concomitantly bringing about regime changes in others? For example, Arab monarchies threatened by IS desire regime change in Syria, but not in Yemen.

There is precedent of inter-states alliances to guard against regime change, eg the Economic Community of Western African States set up a convention under which the union is allowed to intervene in a member state to prevent regime change on the pretext of preventing grave breaches of international humanitarian law. The creation of a Sunni Muslim Nato-like alliance which acts in collective self-defence of member states might be in the making, but Pakistan can ill afford to get drawn into unnecessary international wars by committing troops at the moment.

In any case, under international law, a state’s consent is required for any military involvement on its territory by third states except when the latter are responding to an armed attack in self-defence. While Syria is in the midst of a civil war, under international law Bashar al-Assad’s regime remains in power because it currently controls the capital city and considerable parts of the country without being in imminent danger of collapse. Hence, any military involvement in Syria without its government’s consent would be legally problematic, because of the challenges posed to Syrian sovereignty under international law.

The right of collective self-defence, enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter, privileges Syria and Iraq to request and authorise other states to assist in the defence of their sovereignty against rebels and insurgents — including terrorists. Russian military involvement in Syria is an example of acting on the basis of such authorisation, whereas US aerial bombing clearly is not. Thus, any military operations targeting militants by this newly formed Muslim states alliance, without the consent of the state on whose territory the terrorists are active, disregards the principle of territorial integrity enshrined in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

Pakistan is already overstretched in its internal conflict with the TTP. Diverting military resources and manpower overseas will militate against establishing peace and security within its own border. IS has shown sophistication and craftiness, including by adeptly using social media, in executing terrorist attacks and fanning radicalism in countries it wants to target. Any external involvement against transnational terrorist organisations like IS will expose Pakistan to the wrath of the former.

Additionally, by joining military operations or providing other forms of military or intelligence support, Pakistan might end up antagonising Iran, driving it closer to what is currently a hostile India. Pakistan can thus end up jeopardising its commerce, energy and trade linkages with Iran at a time when sanctions are being lifted.

Increased trade with Iran has the potential to significantly boost the economy of Pakistan. While condemning terrorism and cooperating with all relevant UN bodies in combating it, Pakistan should aim to remain neutral in what increasingly seems to resemble a Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with US and Russian support respectively.

The writer is a former legal adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 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 (98) Closed



Al Khalid Dec 23, 2015 03:36am

I agree with most of your article. By the way, Iran is already very close to India. Whether Pakistan participates in it or not, it won't change the dynamics of their relation.

Citizen Dec 23, 2015 05:57am

Pakistan should not join this coalition as it will increase extremism in Pakistan

James Dec 23, 2015 06:47am

Whether Pakistan likes it or not, it will have to be part of this coalition eventually due to pressure from Saudi Arabia. Certain things you can control, others you can't. If past is any indication, hopefully this alliance will remain on paper. But if it gets involved in any of the ongoing conflicts, it will only be for the worse, both for Pakistan and for the Middle-East.

Robin Akbar Dec 23, 2015 07:30am

Pakistan had made a right choice.

Zak Dec 23, 2015 08:36am

By including Pakistan , KSA has made it a undefeatable alliance and one far stronger than NATO .

Zak Dec 23, 2015 09:08am

World needs Pakistan to bring peace and correct the flawed policies and wrong wars of US and to bring peace and stability in the middle east and establish itself as world power.

Zain Dec 23, 2015 09:38am

We need to concentrate on our own problem instead of watching for others.

Bakshi_kanth Dec 23, 2015 09:46am

Pakistan should not take any side. The need is to focus on trade and friendly relations with all neighbors. There is no need for comparison for relations with India or any other country. Don't forget the old adage that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled. There is no such thing as undefeatable alliance or friendship forever.

Cyrus Dec 23, 2015 09:49am

Interview the Pakistan general staff.

GA Dec 23, 2015 09:50am

Daesh draws its income from oil fields. Shouldn't be too difficult for coalition members to take over all the oil fields and dry up the militant's income.

SSH Dec 23, 2015 09:50am

ISIS is knocking at our door. We must join the force and nip the evil in bud.

Bhai Jan Dec 23, 2015 09:51am

@Zain That is something they will not let you do.

Manish Dec 23, 2015 09:51am

@Zak you are really funny dear

kareem Dec 23, 2015 09:53am

Pakistan needs to put its own house in order and build its economy, a task that will take 40 years.

Ali Dec 23, 2015 09:59am

@Robin Akbar Yes you still not had lesson from Afghan war

Syed Husain Dec 23, 2015 10:00am

A very well written article. At this time, Pakistan can not afford to participate in any foreign military activity when it is already dealing with the insurgency at home. It is more important for Pakistan to focus on making peace with all its neighbors - India, Afghanistan and Iran. KSA and the UAE have enough oil revenue stashed up to rent mercenaries from Africa and South America to do their dirty work.

Ajeet Dec 23, 2015 10:00am

@Zak

LOL . HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Hasaan Dec 23, 2015 10:03am

@ Robin Akbar, The choice where the government has become a part of a coalition without having played a role in its formation and have no details regarding it?

Muneer Dec 23, 2015 10:04am

Pakistan has made the right decision by joining the alliance, and the decision is supported by the vast majority of the Pakistani public which is sick and tired of terrorism. As a Muslim it too is our responsibility to help our Muslim brothers & sisters. As for Iran efforts should be made to allay their fears and they should be made part of the alliance. But the alliance should go on under any circumstances

Syed Kashif Dec 23, 2015 10:14am

Looking at the current scenario of Pakistan it is safe to say that the scope of engagement in this alliance will be calibrated to suite our own security priorities to start with.

Talha Masood Dec 23, 2015 10:14am

@Ajeet what makes you laugh? hysteria?

mirestan Dec 23, 2015 10:16am

Stay away from any war, unless Pakistan's existence is at stake. If Pakistan wants progress and prosperity .

Talha Masood Dec 23, 2015 10:16am

Pakistan, by joining the (so called) forces against IS will make IS it's direct target in near future.....so it should be avoided!

Mohammad Saleem Dec 23, 2015 10:18am

For all intents and purposes, Saudi Arabia is purportedly Pakistan's benefactor as it has helped the latter financially in times of desperate needs.

Srini Dec 23, 2015 10:24am

@Zak You made my day, I love to see your most hilarious comments ever on the net.

shary Dec 23, 2015 10:26am

question arises, will the coalition come and fight with us against talibans? will we see saudi Apache attack helis and eurofighter typhoons be bombing talibans in Waziristan? or its just a coalition for arab's.. will it be like "your enemies are your enemies but my enemies are yours as well" as it has always been.

AIK Dec 23, 2015 10:33am

I do not agree to the thoughts of writer... Closing the eyes and ducking the head in sand is insane. Pakistan MUST unite with Saudi and other regional countries (specially where significant Pakistanis are living) for the safety, security and existence (both economic and geographical) of Pakistan. The situation in the region around Pakistan is more vulnerable than generally felt and Pakistan must identify true friend rather than neighbors (who may not be friends at all).

Baloch Dec 23, 2015 10:45am

The writer has aptly nailed it by identifying the grey areas, which may cause further sufferings to the country in the event of prevalent terrorism across the country. Likewise, i second the option of being neutral because any act of partisanship purely based on sectarian lines would end up in fanning flames in the region which could ultimately engulf our country for long.

Raja Farhat abbas Dec 23, 2015 10:59am

We should not worry about Iran or the Indians, Pakistan should without any reservation join this alliance, its better for our future.

Raja Farhat abbas Dec 23, 2015 11:06am

The latest weapons of the Saudi will be at our disposal, it will help a lot in case of a future war with our old enemies on the eastern and the western borders so we should join this Grand alliance.

Shankar Dec 23, 2015 11:07am

@Zak Stronger than NATO ? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!

vic Dec 23, 2015 11:08am

@Zak Hahaha !! You have sense of humour.

Sarah Dec 23, 2015 11:12am

Pakistan's delayed and confused response to international coalition announced by KSA is indicative of the fact that Pakistan did not participate in planning of the said coalition. It was told to Pakistan by Saudi officials that Pakistan will also be a member of the coalition. The writer has aptly highlighted the consequences of Pakistan's participation in international coalition on the basis of sectarianism. Even putting this aspect aside Pakistan's military is fighting its own war against terrorism. Committing forces for international coalition will hamper the counter terror efforts inside Pakistan.

Shahid Dec 23, 2015 11:12am

Americans simply want to be off the hook somehow, and they formulated this solution to force Arabs to fight,bleed and suffer on the Syrian soil against IS, and also against the countries who are serving one way or the other to defend Basharul Asad's regime. This may lead to a substantial deficit to all the countries involved because of the internal grudges which this act of grouping will give rise to.

Danish Dec 23, 2015 11:25am

I wish Pakistan stay away from it. Why didn't they make such an alliance while we were fighting TTP all alone??

ZAK THE UNBEATABLE Dec 23, 2015 11:59am

@Zak Salute u ZAK..The way u present ur views really amuse me.Truly speaking whenever I am sad or in depression I read ur comments and really it brings smile on my face..:))

Faheem Dec 23, 2015 12:05pm

Pakistan's delayed and confused response to international coalition announced by KSA is indicative of the fact that Pakistan did not participate in planning of the said coalition. It was told to Pakistan by Saudi officials that Pakistan will also be a member of the coalition. The writer has aptly highlighted the consequences of Pakistan's participation in international coalition on the basis of sectarianism. Even putting this aspect aside Pakistan's military is fighting its own war against terrorism. Committing forces for international coalition will hamper the counter terror efforts inside Pakistan.

ali Dec 23, 2015 12:06pm

i hope someone in our foreign policy makers (not the foreign office guys) listening to it..

parveez Dec 23, 2015 12:10pm

We should be the bridge between Iran Saudi Arabia

Long View Dec 23, 2015 12:14pm

Iran needs to do more to deflate Sectarian tension in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Syria. Both KSA/UAE and Iranian needs to talk to eliminate the need for any coalition.

Amin Dec 23, 2015 12:20pm

Saudi Arabia has helped us financially, morally and diplomatically at critical periods of our history. It bailed us out when we were being punished for testing the nuclear bomb. Pakistan decision is quite good.

mirza Dec 23, 2015 12:21pm

@Citizen you r right

sbk Dec 23, 2015 12:25pm

Russia is correct. There is no good and bad terrorists and there is no moderate and extremist terrorists. All are same.

sbk Dec 23, 2015 12:32pm

@Zak , When you know the enemy, you can fight. But, here there will not be conventional war. Here, you cannot distinguish who is a terrorist and who is a civilian. The terrorists will hide among civilians. They will use civilian shield. They will use suicide bombers. There is no end.

yarana Dec 23, 2015 12:51pm

@Zak

Where do u come up with all these comments.I always read your comments you just a stirrer I laugh my head off.Keep up the good work.

Saleem Dec 23, 2015 01:12pm

Syria is a pandora box, every one is fighting without any clear goal. Who will be future leader of Syria? no one knows yet.

khanm Dec 23, 2015 01:21pm

Alliance is an excellent thing... The great allied leaders should understand the twin sides of destruction and salvation. Their war aims are suppose to defeat the fascism, and to create the region based on shared prosperity and not for personal and private goals of the leaderships..Great caution needs to be exercised... I know that military alliances and armament have been the reliance for peace for centuries, but they do not produce peace; and when war comes, as it inevitably does under such conditions, these armaments and alliances but intensify and broaden the conflict.

Khwarezmi Dec 23, 2015 01:21pm

If anything, then it is Pakistan which is the natural leader of an international Muslim force with one of the largest nations boosting one pf the largest militaries in the world who can provide a nuclear umbrella to friendly states, many who can pay for it with much needed hard currency. Pakistan is the natural born leader of the Muslim world. It is just our leaders in power who have a limited mindset.

Nasir Dec 23, 2015 01:22pm

Stay out of it - we are going to end up exactly the same as we did when we got involved in Afghanistan

Nasir Dec 23, 2015 01:24pm

@Zak - you are a funny man - I suggest you read and study NATO before making such absurd comments

Skeptic Dec 23, 2015 01:32pm

The announcement was preemptive, and without consultation with the assumed 'coalition partners',. Therefore doesn't make it binding or even real.

TINA Dec 23, 2015 01:53pm

Pakistan has taken the right decision. There is no need to discuss or broach up the alternatives now. This is literally the problem of Muslim countries; when nothing is being done about the carnage which goes around the Muslim countries in particular we are the ones who speak about the inefficiencies of OIC and the remaining Muslim countries of doing nothing about the miseries of 'brotherly states'. Whatever hell broke loose in Iraq and Syria is not just their headache, we all need to contribute our valor in overcoming it especially if its a coalition of Muslim countries. Whether or not Syria, Iraq or Iran is a part of this coalition today does not become an apocalyptic for the step any of these would take in the future. Keep it up Pakisan. NOW OR NEVER!

Humayun Dec 23, 2015 02:07pm

Daesh has managed to graduate itself as a global phenomenon. The primary purpose of alliance is to fight terrorism rather than promoting regional conflict. Pakistan role should be limited to intelligence sharing, countering recruitment of manpower for extremist outfits, tapping money laundering for this purpose and providing logistical support including air fields and medical care where necessary in the fight against terrorism. Pakistan should not drag it's boots and tools on the ground.

Shah Alam Dec 23, 2015 02:12pm

Pakistan should remain NEUTRAL for its own good.

Jacklord Dec 23, 2015 02:20pm

Its called war economy by selling arms and training new emerging force pakistan can sell armored vehicles , new ships and JF17s to this alliance.Pak can offer its experience in field of urban / guerrilla warfare and capacity building. America every year got 12b us dollar from its defense industry sell arms to both iran KSA and many countries around the globe.How will you build yoru economy if you still walk with IMF crutches.

Fazil K. Dec 23, 2015 02:25pm

@Danish. Why did Saudi Arabia not make such an alliance to support the Palestinian cause?

Jacklord Dec 23, 2015 02:32pm

Here i want to bring your attention on even happened when modi government sent IAF fighters to riyadh to show IAF capacity to take down hothis rebels although GCC turned down this offer and india left empty handed.

India is still very eager to join this alliance as they claimed they have large muslim population living in india and they should have important role in muslim world.Indian defense minister would join it if it also has come kind of UN backing

Ali Raza Noor Dec 23, 2015 02:34pm

@Zak Only Pakistan strength wise yes, what about strength of other 33 countries, keep on dreaming

Ali Raza Noor Dec 23, 2015 02:48pm

@AIK Those neighbors who may not be our friends saved our behind by providing arms in wars and supporting us, by the way n which war our arab brothers have helped us do enlighten us.

Tapish Dec 23, 2015 02:59pm

Some time back as Pak prepared itself for the Zarbe Zarb operation against the militants ,there were similar anxieties.But the operation has proven that certain actions are necessary for long term benefit.Hope Pakistan continues to overcome its apprehensions and fears ,as it looks forward to become a developed nation.

aman Dec 23, 2015 03:38pm

Pakistan must join coalition. Before more wars erupt in the Muslim world (which is likely going to happen in every Muslim country), and this is time to not let foreign powers get involve to make these matters worst. Muslim countries should take charge of their own affairs and lead to resolve their own issues and not depend on foreign powers. Pakistan must be part of this coalition, and this coalition should gradually be solidified and Only Muslim member states should be invited to expand this coalition.

Adnan Aziz Dec 23, 2015 03:42pm

The Foreign Ministry is still in the process of getting full details of the proposed Alliance. Any comments at this stage on whether or not Pakistan should join this coalition are premature. However, I would like to comment on the following observation of the writer:

"Pakistan is already overstretched in its internal conflict with the TTP. Diverting military resources and manpower overseas will militate against establishing peace and security within its own border."

My opinion on this particular aspect is that if Pakistan, despite its internal constraints, which are not new at all, can afford over 10,000 troops for international peace keeping and second its troops to friendly Gulf countries on deputation, why can't it afford troops for this Coalition.

Ali Ahmed Bandesha Dec 23, 2015 03:50pm

Yes you raise a good point , Hope for the best.

KARACHI WALA Dec 23, 2015 04:02pm

Your blog is spot on but, I really doubt the heads that are running this country!

KARACHI WALA Dec 23, 2015 04:06pm

Without Syria and Shia-majority Iran and Iraq part of this alliance, it will create a lot friction and hostility within many alliance countries.

My Opinion Dec 23, 2015 04:12pm

Alliance ?? against what ? Terrorism !! wait wait wait. Are we all not aware that right now Syria and Iraq are the main victim of terrorism so at least they must be included into this alliance if not Iran. By the way Iran being a very critical Muslim Country must not be excluded from this alliance just because Arab countries don't want to talk to them or due to sectarian differences. Iran is in the front line against IS and by definition The enemy of your enemy is your friend so There must be some sensible and neutral leadership who could lead this alliance. Why not Pakistan could take that lead and bring on board all the Islamic countries including Iran on board.

Nawaz,Zubair Dec 23, 2015 04:32pm

Our brave soldiers are for the defence of Pakistan. Period ! They are not mercenaries. Our answer to the Saudi's is capital NO, thank you. They and the US should clean up the mess which has been created in the first place by themselves.

Taimoor khan Dec 23, 2015 04:51pm

Its simple, if the issue got stench of sectarianism, Pakistan needs to stay miles away from it. Let the Persians and the Gulf sheikhdoms destroy each other in the name of sects while acting as a pawns of world powers.

Mark Dec 23, 2015 05:05pm

@AIK , fully agree with you, correct and very true.

Thousands and thousands of Pakistanis remitting millions and millions of hard earned foreign exchange to motherland Pakistan lives in Saudia and 5 Gulf nations and not in neighbor Iran, Iraq or Syria, so why not join this alliance to protect these Pakistanis as well as providing support and security to these nations always out to help Pakistan in every hour of needs proven- be its flood, earthquake, hospitals, airport and many other economic ways. Joining the alliance has been the most pragmatic step Pakistan has taken, Pakistan owes it to her selves in every way. Iran is more close and friendlier with India than with Pakistan having allowed India to develop and use the Chabahar port to link with Afghanistan with a dubious aim to destabilizes Pakistan. Pakistan having a very high Geo demographic importance cannot afford to remain neutral when CPEC is fast completing, too.

rahul1 Dec 23, 2015 05:20pm

Reminds me of pre-independent era where British Raj used to send soldiers of Indian subcontinent to fight England's wars in Europe, Africa & far east.

HARISINGH Dec 23, 2015 05:41pm

I feel like Pakistan is a nautral leader of the Muslim world in particular and the middle east in general. As part of that brotherhood it should seriously consider joining this alliance. Moreover, for this alliance to be of any use it needs soldiers who are battle hardened.

I don't quite agree with writer's assessment of India-Iran relations. Our (India's) relationship with Iran is purely business. There is deep culutural and religious bonds between Iran and Pakistan going back atleast a thousand year.

jayagor Dec 23, 2015 06:01pm

All signs -especially the Saudi inspired creation of a joint force point towards a gradual disengagement of the US military from Middle East. Pakistan should become a member of this coalition only if it is prepared and is able to ride two horses at the same time.

zulu Dec 23, 2015 06:10pm

this is not our war

saudi and Iran have missup all over guilf and we should not be friend or enemy in this war

Iran is brutus we know ,but its saudi who are shelling Seriya and Yamen .

would you expect same in pakistan .No

so no to war

syed Dec 23, 2015 06:14pm

This alliance is only to protect Gulf Countries specially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Why there was no alliance to combat Israel in Palestine. Will this alliance protect Pakistan in case of war with India. Trust me, this alliance will not come to protect Pakistan, they will never use their resources for us.

This is not just an alliance to protect Muslim Countries, it is only to protect Arabs... Shame on Arabs... you have no balls to fight your own war....You created IS just to destabilize Iran and Syria.

Fresh Dec 23, 2015 07:03pm

@Zak Today's dose of humour :-) First of all this alliance is not against NATO, why are you comparing it with it? This alliance for all practical purposes will remain on paper. This is just to ensure the alliance members will not raise any dissenting voice for any action taken by KSA on other Middle Eastern countries. That's all.

Seedoo Dec 23, 2015 07:07pm

Excellent analysis. Seems like Pakistan was not given a choice. Saudis just put Pakistan's name in there.

Mubashir Munir Dec 23, 2015 07:09pm

you are right

Mustafa R. Dec 23, 2015 07:30pm

@Al Khalid;

'By the way, Iran is already very close to India.'

Iran has no relationship with India beyond normal business. Iran is not a confused nation like us and knows India and Israel are very closely allies and soul mates. Iran's strategic ties are with Russia and China.

Mustafa R. Dec 23, 2015 07:33pm

@Bakshi_kanth;

'The need is to focus on trade and friendly relations with all neighbors.'

Not all neighbors but friendly neighbors.

Syed Ahmed, Canada Dec 23, 2015 08:22pm

It was one of the most foolish decision taken by the Pakistan government. Earlier Nawaz Sharif committed to send Pakistan Army to Saudi Aribia to fight the Syrians. We have very many problems to sort out at home and along its boarders. it appears that Nawaz Sharif is trying to find ways and means to turn Pakistan Army in to a Mercenary Army.

Syed Ahmed, Canada Dec 23, 2015 08:25pm

@James : Rubbish. Pakistan Army will never bow to such pressures.

syed shah Dec 23, 2015 08:32pm

@Zain our problem is people like you

Subbu Chandra Dec 23, 2015 08:34pm

Was it not the same way Pakistan got lured into the Afghan War? It is high time Pakistan focusses on developing its economy and uplifting its poor! The gulf countries are soaked in wealth, while countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri lanka will have to develop trade cooperation and move ahead in developing their individual economies.

Moona Dec 23, 2015 09:15pm

Very true.

Vijay (Toronto) Dec 23, 2015 09:26pm

@Mustafa R. And how many friendly neighbours do you have?

sidney Dec 23, 2015 09:30pm

ISIL is a political organization and uses religion as its recruitment tool. The Saudis, through this coalition, will play politics, based on the regime's own survival. The best way for Pakistan to influence Arab nations is to push soft power and not its military strength

anony Dec 23, 2015 09:33pm

We must maintain good relations with brotherly Islamic countries, but at the same time NOT loan any of our troops for any sort of war. We need to safeguard our own borders.

Pakistan Khan Dec 23, 2015 10:17pm

Pakistani workers are treated like slaves, humiliated by the Arabs in their countries and here they want our blood to be spilled for the cold-war with Iran we have nothing to do with? The notion that 'Saudi helped us financially in the past, so we should join' is absurd. Is Pakistan mercenary that whoever pays it higher, it's obliged to kill for it? Please leave us alone, Pakistan is finally on the right track, country is heading toward stability and here it is again...

Rakesh gupta Dec 23, 2015 10:20pm

Pakistan should not waste its limited resources on such adventure...

Uzair Dec 24, 2015 12:28am

@Al Khalid you are right but i would like to disagree bit..... it will further exacerbate situation , and Pakistan cant afford it , as gas project is on its way to complete

Uzair Dec 24, 2015 12:33am

Pakistan have to have very decent foreign policy to handle this situation , they should participate but not to thrust its military boots on foreign soil ; by costitution Pakistan army is state institution just to protect its own land . Second reason for not participating is that , its future seems like a dormant OIC , as major players fighting ISIS valiantely are not part of this alliance , which raised question on its credibility . Among these 34 states , only Pakistan and Turkey have military force , rest all are just saudi's puppets ; Pakistan should not let its arm forces to be exploited by monarchs to praise their western gods

John Cool Dec 24, 2015 02:45am

It appears Pakistan has been press ganged in to this sectarian alliance.

Ali Achx Dec 24, 2015 09:23am

First of all,Iran should mend its ways.Iran is the main culprit of middle east sectarian crises. its own people are suffering at the hand of sanctions. Neither Iran nor KSA is in the largest interest of Pakistan.

venkat Dec 24, 2015 10:34am

Here, China & Russian factors have not been discussed. By joining Saudi Arabia, you tend offend Syria & Iran with whom China & Russia have close relationship.

If you upset Saudi Arabia, you upset USA & many Western Countries as well.

It is really a tough call to make.

Rajesh Dec 24, 2015 01:00pm

Pakistan govt. should concentrate on development, education, health, trade etc. rather than involve itself in such misadventures. There is nothing to gain only lose.

venkat Dec 24, 2015 01:26pm

First let the following points to be clarified by people who made the decision

  1. IS is a terrorist organisation & does not have any face.Whom will you attack.

  2. How come such an important stake holders like Iraq, Iran & Syria are not inducted.

  3. This is purely an Arab war, find no reason to meddle with

  4. Why such an alliance never took place against Israel

  5. There are Parties with whom Pakistan needs to maintain close relations.But Russia, China, Iran & Syria have different perspective than the coalition lead by Saudi Arabia.

  6. You have to opt between China or Saudi Arabia.

It is not an easy thing to balance keeping Pakistan's interest in top of the mind

Israr Dec 24, 2015 03:00pm

Most comprehensive and in-depth op ed on the subject issue. I am impressed.

Mustafa R. Dec 24, 2015 07:13pm

@Vijay (Toronto);

'And how many friendly neighbours do you have?'

All our neighbors are ancient societies, three of them are also ancient 'Tahzeebs' and they are all our friends.