BETWEEN THE LINES
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.