Qatar’s diplomatic isolation by six states on Monday proves that the Islamic world is not as united as it hopes to be, nor are all members of the alliance on the same page. Following Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s lead, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Libya also severed all diplomatic relations with Qatar and asked its diplomats to leave the country. While Qatar has come at odds with Saudi in the past, relations have not soured to this level in recent times – the only real reason for this right now can be the criticism being meted out against Saudi Arabia on state-sponsored news channel, Al-Jazeera in recent times and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

But the most problematic thing about this diplomatic isolation are the grounds it is based on. Accusing Qatar for supporting and funding groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda backed Al-Nusra front is like the pot calling the kettle black – Saudi Arabia has been accused of funding both the IS and a plethora of other terrorist groups in the region for years. This is just the kingdom flexing its muscles at a time when it feels it has won unshakeable support from both Islamic countries and the US. Using the expulsion from the Islamic coalition and cutting off diplomatic ties is a pressure tactic and nothing more, to bring Qatar to comply with isolating Iran the way Saudi Arabia and the US want it to.

Whether the pressure will make Qatar cave is another matter, what this implies is that Saudi Arabia and partner states are not above using this technique to get states to fall in line. Iran has been marked as the ultimate enemy, and there seems to be no other purpose to this Saudi-US sponsored coalition – only employed as a means to further their self-serving interests. If the problem of terrorism really is to be tackled in its entirety, it cannot be accomplished with Saudi Arabia – a supporter of terrorism as long as it furthers its goals – at the head of this coalition.

But if this is to be the way of things in the coalition going forward, what can Pakistan expect will happen when it continues to play the double game of trying to appease Saudi Arabia and maintain positive ties with Iran simultaneously? It is only a matter of time before the coalition makes the same demand from other member states: Fall in line and ostracise a single country for the very complex and convoluted problem of terrorism and extremism or risk being excluded from the group and lose hope of having a diplomatic relationship with the countries to boot – a classic ‘with us or against us’ policy.