In recent years, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has reached new heights. The two rivals are engaged in many conflicts against each other in the Middle East (ME); these conflicts are proving instrumental in changing the nature of security and destabilisation of the region. Even the adjacent regions are also feeling the heat of the rivalry between the two powers. Keeping these factors in mind, the Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan, Imran Khan will leave for Iran and Saudi Arabia today. The purpose of PM Khan’s visit is none other than bridging the vast chasms between Tehran and Riyadh. But will the Pakistani PM become successful in normalising the bilateral relations between the two regional archrivals?

Given the prevailing hostility between the two states, many may say that the Pakistani PM has taken up a very ambitious project. Probably, such assertions are not correct. For it was the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman who had asked the Pakistani premier to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran. Pakistan had played the role of a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the past as well. However, this time, the relations between the two sides have gone sore to such an extent that any effort of normalisation will be an uphill task.

However, there is still a ray of hope as Iran’s Gulf security plan to neighbours is also a decent proposal. The security plan is a decent one as it offers the chance of cooperation between all Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia. Tehran will, highly likely, present the proposed plan to Saudi Arabia through PM Khan. If Riyadh shows any interest in Iran led security project, the long-standing geopolitical divergences between the two Gulf countries can give way to a peaceful and stable ME. However, the actors that consider their vital interests lying in the region may pressurise Riyadh not to accept the Hormuz Peace Endeavour.

That said, what is worth appreciating is that leaderships of both the Gulf countries want to end the on-going rivalry. True, Imran Khan and his administration possess newfound confidence on the world stage. However, what is essential for PM Khan is to show diplomatic dexterity. Otherwise, the fine delicate balance that Pakistan has maintained while keeping its relations with the two rival powers can go awkward. Probably, PM Khan and his team are well aware of this danger. Therefore, Khan at the moment is making the right move: playing the role of a messenger between the two sides.