• Javed Hafeez is a former Pakistani diplomat with much experience of the Middle East. He writes weekly columns in Pakistani and Gulf newspapers and appears regularly on satellite TV channels as a defense and political analyst.
The people of Pakistan have special reverence for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam; where more than two-and-a-half million Pakistanis are employed and the volume of bilateral trade has been increasing.
India voted against the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the following year opposed Israel’s admission as a member of the UN. Though India maintained a covert relationship of a limited nature, it established diplomatic relations with Israel as late as 1992.
India will soon assume operational control of the Iranian port of Chahbahar for 18 months, as per a bilateral agreement recently signed in New Delhi. China runs the management and further development of the Pakistani port of Gawadar on a longer-term basis.
Because of their often problematic relations, it is natural for India and Pakistan to seek divergent allies. In the Cold War era, their choices were apparent and easy. Pakistan joined two regional defense pacts patronized by the United States to contain communism.
During the Cold War, Pakistan-US relations were warm and co-operative. However, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Pakistan became “the most sanctioned ally” — mainly due to its expanding nuclear program.