Saudi Arabia has again resorted to being the bully of the region by cutting off diplomatic ties with Qatar, merely for not streamlining their foreign policy with Saudi’s interests. However, this time around the demand is stronger because United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain joined hands to ensure the complete isolation of the country. If they remain persistent; families will split and be displaced, and people will lose jobs.

Qatar’s food security will come under threat as it is 40 percent dependent on imports. At the same time, work is underway for the World Cup. The route is being used bring in construction material. Saudi Arabia possesses the only land border with Qatar. If that closes off, it will be a huge threat to the economy. Such harsh measures have never been taken before. Not even with Iran, a country that Saudi Arabia criticizes harshly and adopts policies against.

It is evident that Qatar is being punished for choosing to have an independent foreign policy, which is quite necessary given their geographical positioning. Qatar over the last 20 years has managed to maintain ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States of America (USA). It offers a free media and an open political environment. At the same time, it is politically intelligent to have become a land that accommodates all; it helps mediate between sides and resolve some of the most crucial issues. Developing that in the Middle East is a huge advantage, especially if some actors genuinely want to do away with sectarianism.

The situation that has developed highlights the hypocrisy of Saudi Arabia and UAE. While they criticise Qatar for maintaining ties on their own accord, both countries do the same. UAE, despite criticising Iran, serves as the entry point to the country and also has ties with pro-Israel think tank in the US. Same goes for Saudi Arabia; whose landmark deal with the US has direct ties with the Israeli economy. At the same time, it is no secret that Saudis continue to fund extremism.

Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, along with the army chief has landed in Jeddah, ostensibly to resolve the issue. Pakistan has maintained good diplomatic ties with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It is important to resolve this issue right now, and not give rise to strife between the Muslim world. Iran has already been sidelined and we have witnessed the consequences of that. Pakistan is a key player and can help resolve the issue; along with establishing the fact that no country can corner others into adopting similar policies.