Iranian FM Javed Zarif’s interview by Hamid Mir highlighted economic opportunities that must be capitalised

In FM Zarif’s interview to Hamid Mir (himself a vicious sectarian bigots whose anti Ahmadi prejudice is a matter of record), Pakistan got a glimpse of the economic possibilities that could result with a non-aligned policy. Standing in the way of Pakistan’s economic corporation is Pakistan’s dishonest media and civil society.

Pakistan’s Intelligentsia – comprised of a Jamaat e Islami wing as well as a commercial Left liberal wing cannot get past False Sectarian Binaries. These False binaries are the only tools left to defend their intellectual and moral bankruptcy as well as their sectarian prejudice.

One of the major outcomes of General Zia’s brutal martial law was that Pakistan was forced to become more aligned with the Saudi-US camp. This alignment has come with a huge cost. Gone was the defiant tone of the Bhutto era of (relative) Non-alignment and the growing ties with the Soviets.

Pakistan swung hard into the laps of the Saudis and in the process destroyed its ties with its immediate neighbours. The only industry that the Saudis invested in Pakistan was the Takfiri Deobandi industry of madrasses and mosques st every corner. 40 years later and the biggest legacy of this capitulation to the Saudis has been the death of a pluralistic Pakistan and the massacre of 70,000 Pakistanis from ALL faiths and sects. And Nawaz Sharif is the festering sore of this legacy.

The first thing that Nawaz Sharif did in his most recent stint was to scuttle the Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline deal put in place by the PPP government of Zardari, Gillani and Pervaiz Ashraf. In reality, the spineless Nawaz Sharif has never lived up to the mythical “anti establishment” tag invented for him by the Sethi Network. Nawaz is literally the more-loyal-than-the-king errand boy of the Saudis.

During the same interview, Zarif exposed Hamid Mir and his xenophobia about Chahbahar Port. He repeatedly invited and assured Pakistan to participate in this port along with the rest of the countries in our neighbourhood – namely India and Afghanistan. This policy makes complete sense.

It is understandable for Sipah Sahaba to have xenophobic views about Iran. After all, Sipah Sahaba’s zeitgeist is the result of 150 years of brainwashing by the Darul ulooms and their thousands of outposts. However, this xenophobia is not just limited to Sipah Sahaba but also shared by seemingly secular liberal types who start foaming about the “Baseej” “Pasdaran” “Inquilab” every time there is an appeal to common sense about Iran. This happens even against those who otherwise maintain a critical view of Iranian politics, rights issues and theology.

That is why it is important for the average Pakistani to look past the distorted image of Iran that is being peddled not just by Sipah Sahaba. It is also being peddled by those whose patrons are furious about Iran’s contributions to defeat Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq. This camp has nothing left to give except for dishonest narratives and binaries constructed upon Red herring and Straw men arguments.

So the same commercial liberal of Pakistan who adheres to the common sense policy of peace with India will loose it when Iran actually provides the peace mechanism. The Iran-Pakistan pipeline was initially the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. This was another dishonest attempt at bait and switch by Hamid Mir when he injected China into the discussion about the pipeline. So sectarian twits like Hamid Mir are applauded for token and Meaningless gestures but absolved for obfuscating what could be an actual mechanism for peace between Pakistan and India.

Nawaz Sharif is given false credit for his opportunistic and shady business deals – as though off shore deals between business oligarchs like him result in peace between the respective countries. If that were the case, Russia and the United States would be the best of friends.

When it comes to substance, Nawaz Sharif’s Pro Saudi tilt has also damaged Pakistan’s peace with its other neighbours like India and Afghanistan. The Taliban, Jaish and LeT derive substantial patronage and funding from Saudi Arabia – NOT Iran. The ideology of terrorist groups like the Taliban is also related to that of Saudi Arabia’s official ideology of Salafism-Wahhabism.

 

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