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Saudi – Iran politics on Hajj tragedy and Pakistan’s National Interests

By Dr Shahid Qureshi  -:

The implications of recent Saudi Arabia Hajj tragedy in Pakistan are very visible in terms of sectarian and political divide especially in media where Pakistan’s Iranian Lobby responded with full thrust according to some journalist on social media. Pakistan has been a battle ground of Saudi and Iranian proxies and that need to be stopped and replaced with what is in the best national interest of Pakistan.

Obviously Iranians have chosen to form a military and economic alliance with India apart from Indian Amy’s killings in Indian held Kashmir, demolishing of Babri Masjid and genocide of Muslims in Gujrat. Therefore all is not moral and ethically up to the preached standards in the Iranian foreign policy. The good thing about Iranian smartness is that they have been able to ‘develop a powerful pro Iran lobby in Pakistan almost free of cost’. They are funding clerics and training certain terrorist elements of Pakistani society.

The whole policy is sectarian lead and people’s emotions have been exploited? This lobby is so influential that they have been standing in front of number 10 Downing Street and Pakistan High Commission in London blaming Pakistan of ‘shia genocide’ and later having coffees with the Pakistani officials inside. Some intellectuals and writers who earn their living by Pakistan army bashing, Islam bashing and criticising people who do not drink alcohol also stand with the candles to show solidarity to their masters. Obviously it is nothing to do with education?

Surely Pakistan’s state policy does not reflect in any way to kill any minority. However Indian sponsored and trained MQM-A terrorists have confessed killing both Shia and Sunnis to fan sectarian violence and create a divide, sometimes with the same weapon.

Expert says over 60,000 people killed in so called war on terror since 2001 and they were all Pakistanis from various religious groups but mostly Sunnis. Pakistanis don’t see it that way.

According to the press reports Iran has decided to take legal action against Saudi authorities for the killings of its citizens during Hajj stampede. Some people are saying the whole incident happened due to the VIP movement in the area to do the rituals. Some reports saying Iranian hajjis escalated the stampede and are responsible. Whatever may be the case the reality is innocent lives have been lost and no politics is needed on this?

The recent tragedy of 2015 Hajj in Saudi Arabia raised many questions about how this VIP Hajj culture has damaged the fabric of Muslim society. This debate has now turned into pro Iran and anti-Saudi debate in Pakistan. There were no Royals in the whole Middle East before the 2nd World War but soon after they mushroom and now they have about approximately 8000 royals’ kings, amirs, princess and princesses. Obviously all credit goes to the British and allies.

Iran had its own Royal family of  Ahmed Raza Shah Phelvi installed by the US after the overthrow of democratic government of Prime Minister Mohammed Musdaq. “On August 19, 1953, the military, backed by street protests organized and financed by the CIA, overthrew Mossadeq. The Shah quickly returned to take power and, as thanks for the American help, signed over 40 percent of Iran’s oil fields to U.S. companies”.


In his 1981 book, “Hostage to Khomeini,” journalist Robert Dreyfuss says that the Club of Rome, the Aspen Institute, and other elite think tanks conspired to take out the Shah and undo his modernization plans for Iran which they saw as a threat to their power and control over the region. Dreyfuss wrote:

“The mullahs did not come to rule in Iran on the basis of their own power; they were placed in power by men more evil than they – who would use the depravity of backwardness for their own ends…’

Dr. Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative journalist and author of the 2008 book, ‘The Secret War with Iran,’ says that the BBC put Khomeini on a public pedestal and amplified his voice, making his brand of Islamic revolution the only alternative option to the Shah’s rule.

British journalist Ed West interviewed Bergman in June 2009 about his views, and quoted a passage from Bergman’s book in his article, “How the BBC helped bring the Ayatollah to power”:

In the book he writes: “Another propaganda tool for Khomeini was none other than the Persian-language broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The channel gave him a platform. His regular broadcasts made him the unchallenged leader of the Iranian revolutionary movement.”

When we met in a west London hotel not far from the notorious Iranian embassy, Bergman pointed out: “The BBC gave free hours of free broadcast to Khomeini from Paris. It is unbelievable. Every time there is a person who is fighting ‘royal’ forces, in the sense of their being autocratic, the BBC gives them a free hand and carte blanche, without trying to understand what their views are.

Bergman is not some loony conspiracy theorist who is on the margins of Israeli society. He is a “member of the Israeli Bar, holds a M.Phil degree in international relations, and was awarded a PhD by University of Cambridge for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad, the first ever on that subject, written under the supervision of the esteemed Professor Christopher Andrew, chairman of the History Faculty,” (source: Wikipedia).

Bergman’s views about the BBC’s role in stirring up Iran’s Islamic Revolution are well documented.

Source: http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/2011/11/british-and-us-governments-installed.html

Perhaps the factors mentioned above: “Mohammad Reza Pahlavi himself asserted that, “If you lift up Khomeini’s beard, you will find MADE IN ENGLAND written under his chin,” in the later days of his reign as monarch”.

The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy, Daniel Pipes, page 80


For the reasons and factors mentioned above while talking on the Iranian state television Press TV program ‘The Debate’ 24th September 2015, I said: ‘This is not a time to get into blame game and do politics on this tragedy and Saudis should not feel ashamed asking for help from other Muslim countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia for crowd management and training of hajjis before the event after all they have whole year to prepare’.


Having said that according to Saudi Press Agency from 1980 over 70 million Muslims have performed Hajj in Saudi Arabia sadly approximately 5000 people died while doing Hajj which is 0.00007% ratio. But that still does not justify the complicity on behalf of the Saudi Government.

Many people find it difficult to understand as why Saudis are lacking in putting their views across the world to the people via media (a) they are not smart enough and complicit (b) arrogant and over confident (c) don’t have media policy or all the three?

The forces supporting Shias fighting with Sunnis in Iraq are supporting Sunnis in Syria fighting with minority Shia dominated regime of Bashar Al-asad. Many analysts believes that Iranian policy of supporting Shia sectarian elements in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen and Saudi Arabia is largely damaging the interests of Muslim countries. That has made former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbadin Hakamat Yar who said: “Iranian policy of supporting Shia sect and sectarianism in Iraq and Afghanistan has damaged interests of Muslims over all the world”.

To counter these divisive elements who are damaging the state of Pakistan by hate speech against the holy personalities of Islam, wives and caliphs of the Islam strict legislation must be enforced. The derogatory and abusive coded language and insinuations hurled toward 2nd Caliph Umar and wife of the Prophet of Islam leave no space to negotiate. One can say that in actual fact users “BULB 365 Code” are responsible for sectarian violence in Muslim World.

I spoke to Iranian scholar Ayataullah Al-Araqi in Astana, Kazakhstan 9th June 2015 on this issue and he understood what I am talking about. You know what I am talking about? People have seen Shia zakirs abusing Hazart Ayesha (RA), Caliph Umar (RA) and others openly. Is it acceptable? Obviously not. How would you feel if someone abuse your mother in public? It will be provocative and surely one will be upset?

Mujeeb Shami a senior journalist said: ‘in Pakistan a country we have laws for defamation for people but no law to protect the honours of the holy personalities of Islam i.e. companions of the prophet of Islam. If we had those laws there was no reason for Malik Ishaq to fight in the name of companions of the Prophet and end up being killed in fake police encounter’. He was in police custody and was not thereat to the state. One security source said: “Malik Ishaq was not involved in any anti-Pakistan activity and also not taking money from foreign country or agency. He was true loyal Pakistani”. So why was he killed?

This Shia – Sunni sectarian policy has international approvals from so called friends and enemies of Pakistan. Pakistan is pre dominantly a Sunni country with its less than 3% Shia population enjoying religious harmony and strong bond. There are 380 Shia madrassas in Pakistan as compare to approximately over 30,000 Sunni Madrassas including 18500 registered with ‘Wafaq ul Madaras Pakistan’.

Shias of Pakistan dominates media especially, finance and all other areas which made Khurshid Kasuri foreign minister of Pakistan say to his Iranian counterpart: “Shias of Pakistan are not like Sunnis in Iran”. He pointed to a Pakistani official with him and said: ‘he is a Shia and very high officer’. Iranians has the liberty to infiltrate in Pakistani Shia clergy and officials, journalists, media anchors who religiously toe the Iranian lines and ignoring Pakistani national interests.

One must understand Pakistan economic and strategic interests:

Over 2 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia and about 3 million in Sunni countries in Gulf and UAE and only about 25000 in Iran. Pakistani economic and strategic interests lies predominantly in the Sunni world which cannot ignored due to sectarian policies of Iran?

Iranians have signed nuclear deal with the US and others and have restored diplomatic relations with UK. Over $30 billion India-Iran military and civil cooperation deal is obviously against Pakistan’s interests. Indian infiltration and sponsoring of terrorism from Iran and Afghanistan cannot be ignored. Iranians have contracted Indians to build “Port of Chabhar” and also provided access to Indians from Iran to build roads and other projects in Afghanistan. If Indians and others successfully sabotage the Pak-China corridor project Iranian port will be direct beneficiary. On the other hand Pakistan army chief has “warned all and sundry that Pak-China project will be completed at all cost”.

In the current situation Pakistan Government and especially General Raheel Sharif must review and made his security policy of Zero Tolerance and no compromise on Pakistan’s national interests when it comes to the activities of the politicians and officials becoming spokesperson of other countries. Pakistan must start oil and gas exploring in whole Baluchistan where silent moratorium was placed by some pro Iran elements within establishment. Pakistan did not do meaningful oil and gas exploring in Baluchistan border areas with Iran since 1947?

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University)

Views expressed are not of The London Post

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