Southasia - - CONTENTS -

First it was the Saudi Crown Prince Sal­man bin Ab­dul Aziz who vis­ited Pak­istan. He was soon fol­lowed by Bahrain’s King Ha­mad bin Isa bin Sal­man al Khal­ifa. Ear­lier, the Kuwaiti prime min­is­ter had also vis­ited Pak­istan. When Saudi Ara­bia made a ‘gift’ of about $1.5 bil­lion to Pak­istan, Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif’s Ad­vi­sor on For­eign Af­fairs, Sar­taj Aziz said it was a gift for the people of Pak­istan and came with­out con­di­tions. The visit by the Bahraini king was ap­par­ently aimed at up­grad­ing trade and in­vest­ment links but the Bahrai­nis ap­peared more in­ter­ested in en­hanc­ing de­fense ties with Pak­istan. There was spec­u­la­tion that the Saudis and Bahrai­nis wanted Pak­istani troops to fight in Syria but Pak­istan For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Tas­nim As­lam said that Pak­istan would not send troops to Syria nor arm the rebels there. It is a fact though that in 2011 pri­vate Pak­istani se­cu­rity forces went to Bahrain to help put down a pop­u­lar up­ris­ing there. So what was the ‘real’ rea­son be­hind all this sud­den love for Pak­istan? Af­ter all, there are no free lunches.

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