Even the staunchest supporters of Pakistan-Arab friendship – “Arab” being defined closely as the states and monarchies on the Arabian Peninsula - cannot deny that they were taken aback at the response of these nations following India’s annexation of Kashmir. From the heady days of the Saudi prince’s visit - when brotherly platitudes and economic agreements flowed like a monsoon river - to the current undercurrent of public resentment, Pakistan’s relations with the Arabian Peninsula states have certainly taken a turn. So much that it was acutely perceived at the governmental levels and a reengagement was felt necessary to preserve the newfound bonhomie.

Hence, as the Indian Prime Minister’s opulently appointed Arabian tour came to a close Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dispatched their foreign ministers to Pakistan to smooth over any ruffled feathers; also accompanying them was a delegation of Omani legislators. While here both foreign ministers met with Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi and assured Pakistan of “their countries’ complete support for resolving the situation created by India’s unilateral steps in occupied Kashmir”.      

While these words sound reassuring on paper, they are cautiously phrased and extremely non-committal. These are not public condemnations of Indian actions; not promises of concrete, tangible support; neither are they an endorsement of Pakistan’s stance. They are simply words intended to mollify a strained relationship with an ally – nothing more nothing less.

Pakistan, which is currently trying its best to internationalize and publicize this issue, should take help from wherever it can get; each voice adds to the chorus of outrage and Pakistan needs to build it to a crescendo.

However it would do well to take this opportunity to take a much more realistic stock of how the region’s interests are aligned, and take care not to be swept up in unrealistic expectations again.