Crown Prince bin Salman and Pakistan
Relations between Nations are as complicated as between individual’s person to person relations between important state players can and does affect positively or negatively even when two states are friendly but the men who matter do not see eye to eye things get stalled.
The relations between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been dwelling in green pastures for as long as one can remember.
Both the nations have sought to develop bilateral relations since the inception of Pakistan in 1947 and Pakistanis feel they have a special connection with the land of the two holy cities. This has created a sense of duty among Pakistani establishment and people towards the well being of the kingdom.
KSA has always stood with Pakistan through thick and thin whenever the situation demanded with monetary, military diplomatic support and both Nations support each other on most world issues.
The Nomination of Prince Muhammad bin Salman as Crown Prince by the King is a very significant move which can have very positive effects on the current relations between the two nations as the Crown Prince holds Pakistan in special status evident from the visit of the Crown Prince to Pakistan on Aug 28 2016.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has spent over a decade in the kingdom as an exile holds special personal relationship with most royals and it was on the special request of The Crown Prince the Government of Pakistan issued a NOC to General Raheel Shareef to leave Pakistan for the Kingdom and join the new Islamic Military Alliance as Commander in Chief.
The Crown Prince and Pakistan’s former Chief Of Army Staff Gen Raheel Shareef have a comfortable relationship.
The recent outcry from the civil society and media Hawks to call back Gen Shareef from KSA should be ignored by the government and instead the position be used in a positive manner to lobby for Pakistan in Washington with the support from friends in KSA. Their always has been a need to put Pakistan’s case in the US capitol than it has been done now is the time need and opportunity to do that.
There is speculating news in the air of Donald Trump rethinking the US stance towards Pakistan vis a vis the situation in Afghanistan, downgrading Pakistan’s status from a non Nato ally. In this situation ingenious diplomacy and lobbying speedily using friends everywhere could help nullify the damage or reduce it.
On the other hand Pakistan must also not be over concerned about the American stance as the latter has already put all its weight behind India compromising Pakistani interests in the Indian Ocean and Afghanistan. The foreign policy paradigms are shifting and no nation could stop them however things are happening very quickly for Pakistan.
Pakistan must try and slow the process using diplomacy and try to maintain as cozy a relationship with Washington as possible not compromising its ties with China and speedily developing relations with Russia.
Therefore diplomats must slow down the speed of events with Washington and maintain current relations with the help of friends and diplomacy as long as possible whereas on the other hand they will have to quicken the same process with Russia with the help of friends in Beijing. The second task is easier in comparison to the first one keeping in mind the relations with Beijing and the recent entry of Pakistan in shanghai cooperation organization.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is the brains behind KSA,s vision 2030,he is also minister for defense and energy. Pakistan can also help speed nurture relations between KSA-China-Russia which are already moving albeit slowly on a positive trajectory. King Salman sat over 65$ Billion on his last trip to China. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supplies over 1 million bpd of crude oil to China which is increasing every year. Prince Muhammad being the energy guy in the kingdom holds a very important position and is poised to do that for many decades.
On the other hand Russians despite disagreeing with the princes regional policies have a working relationship with him far better than any other individual. Russia is currently in talks with the Kingdom about defense hardware the mere fact the Saudis despite signing billion dollar deals with the Americans are still looking elsewhere speaks volumes and the man behind that is the Crown Prince itself, Russia and KSA can benefit a lot with improving relationships due to the fact they both are large oil producers.
Therefore the scenario for Pakistan is ripe to take advantage of the situation and utilize diplomacy along with personal links to further its interests i.e to maintain as much as possible relations with the Americans and on the other hand quickly enhance relations with Russia with the help of China and the growing mutual interests and threats.