Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz recently gave an interview meant to emphasize Pakistan’s ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, but in the midst of it he also disclosed that Pakistan is looking to sell small arms and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. This makes Pakistan’s continued pretense of neutrality between the two regional rivals look increasingly farcical. Dawn Newspaper has the report:
When asked if Pakistan would supply arms to Syria, Aziz said at this point in time there was no Syria-specific agreement, adding that Pakistan was making efforts to sell small arms and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.The prime minister’s adviser said that like any country with a flourishing arms industry, Pakistan was trying to sell its arms and there was nothing dubious about Saudi Arabia’s interest in [purchasing] weapons from Pakistan.He further reiterated the government’s claim of Pakistan’s neutral stance on the Syria issue.
These protestations of neutrality have been belied by several other recent events: a $1.5 billion “gift” from Saudi Arabia to shore up Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves and delays in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, to name just two important ones. This new realignment, so far under-reported, will have tremendous consequences for the region, affecting not just the war in Syria, but Afghanistan and the contested Kashmir region as well.