Gen.Raheel Sharif, President Trump and Pakistan’s humiliation in Riyadh

 By Haider Mehdi.

In an indirect way, Gen. Raheel, by becoming an employee of Mohammed Bin Salman and the Al Saud, has further reinforced the Saudis traditional view of Pakistan and Pakistanis.

To them we were always hired hands, inferior people, slaves, laborers and beggars. Always, “Miskeen”.

Saudi men were till recently, forbidden to marry Pakistani women!

Boasted the Saudi Prince AL Waleed Bin Talal that, our current PM Nawaz Sharif, “is our man in Pakistan”.

But never had they captured a prize trophy, as important as that of the Head of Pakistan’s iconic and arguably, most respected institution, the Pakistan Army.

Even during Gen. Zia’s days with our military contingents in Saudi Arabia, the relationship was one of respect. In fact Gen. Zia rejected outright and bluntly a Saudi request to only send Sunni troops and officers.

But then in 2017, we had the great honour of a former Army Chief joining the long ranks of employees of the House of Al Saud!

Thanks to some  brilliant behind the scene machinations, by PM Nawaz Sharif the Saudis succeeded in finally roping in someone, who to most Pakistanis and Army rank and file, and to some still is, a near godlike figure.  Perhaps our most popular and beloved Army Chief ever.Gen. Raheel Sharif!

But then, as it turned out, the good general was made an “offer he couldnt refuse”  and putting everything at stake, joined the Saudis, happily under the illusion of becoming the Commander in Chief of a non existent, paper based, Muslim Military alliance against terrorism. But in actual fact a Saudi ploy to attract Pakistani support in their fight against Iran.

Raheel’s decision and actions were driven by, and I say this with a lot of pain, personal interests, an overblown ego and, in my opinion, insensitivity to the self respect and honour of being a former Army Chief, the honour and self respect of the Pakistan Army, and most importantly, the honour and respect of the Country.

There were certainly no geo political considerations and or long term Pakistani national interests. Geo politics change. National interest doesn’t.

To the Saudis, he is in the category of their many other highly paid emoyees of different nationalities, and no more.

He has joined a non existent coalition, only in name and only to counter the common enemy of USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Iran. Not terrorism.

And we heard an earful on the subject from The Trumpeter at the “Muslim Ummah Big Bash Summit”

It is surprising that Gen. Raheel couldn’t forsee the impact and consequences of his personal decision on Pakistan, regional geo politics and our foreign policy. It was and remains an ill advised and ill thought through decision.

And more disconcerting were the earlier claims that one of his pre conditions to join, was for Iran to become a member of the coalition.

At least that illusion, should now be clear to him, as he listened  to the bashing given by The Trumpeter to the Muslim Ummah and calling Iran the greatest threat to world peace, echoed by King Salman.

I think Raheel’s joining may also have contributed to the humiliation and public diplomatic snub, PM Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan received at the “Muslim Ummah Big Bash Summit” .

Pakistan must now remember and accept, that for the Saudis, we are nothing but paid servants, always were, always will be, till we assert ourselves and regain our honour and dignity.

But, till that time, we should accept the insults and humiliation and the kind of  treatment our PM received at the Big Bash Summit and will receive in the forseeable future.

Because that’s what a nation and a society of mercenaries and beggars, with no honour, self respect and dignity, get!

Unless, of course, I live in another universe.

*End Note.*
I’ve often been accused of being “pro Iran” or seeing things through an Iranian perspective.

For the record. I’ve no love for Iran. And certainly not over and above Pakistan, ever!

My consistent contention is that it is suicidal for Pakistan to take sides or get embroiled in an internecine battle for regional hegemony, fuelled by hatred of each other’s regimes, between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Because both are to blame for this mess!

My late father, late Col. S.G.Mehdi M.C,  May Allah SWT Bless his dear departed Soul, would often say.

*”Always play to the galleries of your conscience.  Not to the galleries of public acclaim. And enjoy the rare occasions when the two align. Otherwise walk your lonely, solitary path of Yuk-e Az Azaan-e-Mehdi!”*

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