LAHORE: There is war among different religious groups in Middle East. There is no war for the cause of Islam. Who are we preparing this force? In Middle East the war is between Shia and Sunni Muslims for dominance. Gen Raheel Sharif should not have gone to Saudi Arabia, former Foreign Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali stated this while speaking at Lahore Press Club on Sunday.

Aseff was delivering a lecture on ‘Current international scenario and Pakistan’ at Nisar Osmani Auditorium of press club. “There are two groups one is led by Iran and the other is led by Saudi Arabia and its allies. Here in Pakistan we do not have any rivalry between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Therefore, there is no reason for Pakistan to get involved in Middle East wars. It is not good for Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has made hefty investments in India but what have we gained? Practically nothing I would say. Is this so called Islamic force going to fight in Niger or Nigeria? There is conflict in Yemen and Syria and that is on religious lines. We should not be part of this force,” the former foreign minister was of the view.

About the Afghanistan situation he said Pakistan accepted the American story. “It was not our narrative. Ziaul Haq was a dictator and he used the name of religion to join the war in Afghanistan. USSR had no intention to reach the Arabian Sea and there was no direct threat to Pakistan. We accepted what the Americans were saying at the time. We accepted it as war for Islam. Israeli generals came to Pakistan at the time. We trained jihadis from across the world to fight in Afghanistan and we had to face the situation when Americans left on ending their agenda. We opened up the whole of Pakistan for Afghan refugees,” Sardar said.

“Afghan leaders see Taliban on both sides as one committed to each other as both are Pashtun. We have different options and our plus point is that of negotiating on transit trade. There however is policy logjam. Afghans policy asset is relations with India and they are not going to give them up. Only Pakistan can ensure peace in Afghanistan. Tensions are likely to increase in coming months if we don’t clarify our policy goals,” he said.

“For 25 years there was unipolar world but American leaders destroyed the opportunity. Now we have situations in Ukraine situation, South China Sea, Syria, Iraq and Yemen where USA is no longer the lone players. So many other players have entered the scene. We must take benefit of CPEC,” the former foreign minister was of the view.

About Pakistan’s foreign policy Sardar said we are playing on back foot and are being very defensive. “Enemy will always hit us at our weakest points and we must be prepared for that. Internally there are terror groups that are backed by India to create problems and create sense of insecurity. At Kamran base they attacked the surveillance aircraft. There is Kabul – Delhi nexus to keep pressurising Pakistan and to down the morale of people. They want to keep Pakistan engaged on both the borders. Pakistan’s vital interest must be watched.

“Hysteria is being created in India. But then they don't want to push Pakistan to point of no return. Kashmir solution is possible. This new generation of WhatsApp and twitter users are fighting for freedom. They will decide the fate of Kashmir. 90 percent of Kashmiris are in favour of joining Pakistan,” Sardar said.