Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost made a veiled reference to the inclusion of Pakistan in the ill-famed 34-nation military alliance, expressing ‘confidence’ in the leadership of Pakistan, saying that Islamabad was wise enough to understand the ‘other side’ of this alliance.

Although he did not regale into what he meant by the ‘other side’, it is no secret that the true purpose of the alliance is to tip the balance of power in Middle Eastern politics in the Kingdom’s favour, and hence certain countries in the region have been kept out of it.

Pakistan found itself baffled last year December when Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed 34-nation military alliance of Muslim without any discussion nor consent. While the Pakistani senate had just before ruled out military intervention in Yemen, relations were tense and conversation curt. When the opportunity presented itself to revive the long-standing sentiments of ‘Muslim Brotherhood’, Pakistan took the bait and there was no looking back. However the recent developments in Iran mean a new era for Pak-Iranian relations and that is a potentially beneficial partnership neither party will or should walk away from despite external pressures.

The ‘grand coalition’ although portrayed to be an anti-terror and peace encouraging body, seems more of Riyadh’s attempt to take the matters of regional security in its own hands after having faced international criticism for its role in the conflict in Yemen and Syria. Pakistan’s involvement in this coalition put it between a hard place and a rock. Iran cannot be alienated especially at this time when sanctions have been lifted and there is huge potential to join hands with them and end the energy crisis in the country. Pakistan does know its role in the coalition and it does not involve turning its back on newly formed allies.