A mid rising tensions in the Middle East, with Iran and the US at loggerheads, the Pakistan government’s reaction to the developments has been very positive. Pakistan’s two-pronged approach – committing to neutrality and attempting to act as mediator between the two – must be appreciated.

Prime Minister Khan has taken the initiative in extending support towards a peaceful drawdown of hostilities, and this proactive move is very welcome. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been dispatched to meet leaders in Riyadh, Tehran and Washington and this will hopefully bring some semblance of calm to the restive situation. Pakistan’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iran and the US could have potentially lead to allies expecting us to take sides, but our government has hopefully put any speculation on the matter to bed long before it even started.

A more opportunistic government might even have looked to exploit this situation, and fan the flames of war in the hopes of siding with the victor. But while warmongering might give us short-term benefits, having a full-blown conflict in our backyard is not going to help us in our attempts to bring peace to the region. The general public has reason to be proud of the current government for exercising caution and keeping diplomatic central in the efforts of conflict resolution. Even though this situation is very different, Pakistan’s role in brokering the Afghan peace can perhaps be used as a guiding force in this conflict as well. Our efforts should be in ensuring that channels of communication between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US are always kept open regardless of what is being put forward in the media.

Looking to establish peace in the region helps us change commonly held perceptions – due to Indian efforts – of Pakistan’s involvement in violent acts in the region. Consistently choosing the path of peace helps Pakistan establish its intentions for the international community; the fake Indian narrative of Pakistan fomenting instability and conflict do not hold much weight when our own actions and words prove otherwise. A peaceful resolution is the only way out of the mess Iran and the US currently find themselves in, and it is hoped that a resolution is found soon. If our modest efforts can help in any way, that is all the better.