A day after Rohani won his second term as president of Iran, at least five mortar shells fired from Iran landed into Chaghi area of Balochistan. When the mortars were being fired, American president Donal Trump was in Saudi Arabia where he criticized Iran. Pakistani Prime Minister and former Chief of Army Staff and head of newly formed Muslim Military Alliance, General (R) Raheel Sharif were also present at the conference attended by leaders of 55 Muslim Countries.
U.S. had distanced itself to some extend under President Obama who had struck historic nuclear deal with Tehran, providing it opportunity to reintegrate into international community. However, Donal Trump seems to be going back to the old approach of siding with Saudi Arabia in the region. Pakistan’s close defence ties with U.S. as well as Saudi Arabia were never taken well by Tehran. Moreover, recent killing of Iranian guards by a militant groups Jaish-el-Adl created further tension between the two neighbours when Iranian military leaders threatened to strike inside Pakistan. On Sunday, the threat materialized with the mortar attack in Chaghi.
Pakistan has its own complaints with Iran. It believes that RAW has been using Iranian soil against Pakistan and Iranian intelligence is involved in meddling in Pakistan. Revelations of gang-war lord Uzair Baloch that he was working under instructions from Iranian intelligence created bitter taste in Islamabad. Islamabad’s reply to recent Iranian threats is that guards in Iran were killed by non-State actors while Iran’s State actors are involved in Pakistan.
Although Pakistan wants Iran to have cordial relations with Islamabad and Tehran showed eagerness to become part of CPEC, the overall picture is dominated by security dimensions. After Trump’s visit, Iran will become more sceptical of Pakistan’s role in Saudi-led military alliance. During Tump’s visit US and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed deals of more than 380 billion US dollars for over a period of ten years. Most of the these deals are related to defence tanks and helicopters for border security, ships for coastal security, intelligence-gathering aircraft, a missile-defense radar system, and cybersecurity tools. Before coming to Saudi Arabia, Donal Trump had also spoke about Muslim Nato (Muslim Military Alliance). Pakistan is a key member of the alliance, which Iran sees as threat to its interests. During Trump’s visit, Saudi Arabia also proved its leading role in Muslim world by inviting leaders of 55 Muslim countries. Iran on the other hand does not enjoy such level of relations with other Muslim countries. Pakistan is aware of Iran’s importance as a neighbor as well as its limitations. Pakistani is keen to have cordial relations with Iran but cannot overlook its interests with other gulf countries. Pakistan’s major focus is to bring closer Iran and Saudi Arabia, which, in current scenario, looks least likely. However, the bottom line is that Pakistan will not become part of any Saudi efforts against Iran with expectations that Iran will not let India to use its soil against Pakistan.