Pakistan should be cautious as the ME conflict escalates: Mian Zahid Hussain.

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Monday that the Middle East crisis is worsening; therefore, Pakistan needs to exercise caution. The challenge for Pakistan will be to strike a balance between its relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said Pakistan’s reliance on Arab nations is growing due to challenging economic circumstances. Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the Middle East conflict is increasing and can take any shape. It is most likely that this conflict will continue but will not turn into a major war, but Pakistan still has to be careful in this regard, he added.

The business leader said that Pakistan’s dependence on Arab countries is increasing, but this relationship should not be at the cost of any third party. In the current situation, balancing relations with Arab countries and Iran will be a severe test of our leadership in which success is the only option.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that President Asif Ali Zardari’s contact with his Iranian counterpart is very important in the current situation as the scope of tension between Israel and Hamas is expanding, and now Iran has also jumped into this matter.

Now, the US and Israel, with the help of their allies, will try to teach Iran an economic lesson instead of a military one.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that a few months ago, Iran had launched a missile attack on Pakistan in which some people were killed, to which Pakistan immediately retaliated, but due to diplomatic efforts from both sides. That issue between the two neighbours was resolved, but trust was not fully restored, and both sides continued to accuse each other of supporting terrorists. Mian Zahid Hussain said that Saudi Arabia wants to invest heavily in Pakistan, while millions of its Pakistanis also work there and send billions of dollars annually.

Millions of Pakistanis are also working in other Arab and Gulf countries and sending massive foreign exchange, which cannot be ignored in any case. On the other hand, Pakistan wants natural gas from Iran and the employment of a large number of Pakistanis along the Iranian border is related to trade with Iran.

Therefore, it is challenging to ignore Iran. It is impossible to import gas from Iran because it is not acceptable to America. Still, it is also a fact that more than a dozen countries in the American camp are doing business with Iran, so Pakistan also hopes that, sooner or later, it will be able to import gas.

Pakistan will have to pay a fine of up to twenty billion dollars if it decides not to buy gas from Iran. Mian Zahid Hussain further said that President Zardari has contacted the Iranian leadership. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Mian Nawaz Sharif should also take Saudi Arabia into confidence because the kingdom leadership trusts this family the most in Pakistan.


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