Pakistan and Middle East Revisiting Multi-layered Relationship

Roshan Taj HUMAYUN
23 February 2016
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In wake of altering regional balance of power with the rise of the non-state actors namely Islamic state of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), followed by the ongoing radicalizing trends, the long prevailing Israel-Palestine conflict and proxy wars have all added to the layers of catastrophic consequences for the Middle East in particular while putting its surrounding states in a quagmire in general. In this transformed strategic environment, Pakistan due to its geo-political location fits well into the Middle Eastern power equation. Nevertheless, being the key Muslim state Pakistan’s policy in the region undergoes significant shifts and is of paramount importance.   It shares a 560 mile desert border with Iran but also shares maritime waters with Gulf countries. Pakistan’s status as the second-largest member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), together with its lead role in Combined Task Force 151, a multinational naval task force set up to respond to pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, puts it in a position to steer multilateral security conversations in the region. For this purpose to save Pakistan territory and to contribute to peace and stability, an increasing balancing act between real-politik and ideology emerged for Pakistan and Middle East multilayered relationship.

The paper aims at identifying the aspirations and strategic objectives of the new Pakistan’s rational approach towards the Middle East. It makes an over-all assessment about the significant correlation of divergence and convergence between the Pakistan’s national interests and the interests of the countries in the region.

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