The normalization of ties between the UAE and Bahrain and Israel is now affecting Islamabad’s long standing relations with some Arab rulers particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE has banned visit and work visas to Pakistani citizens along with 13 other Muslim nations, most of whom have been angry with Abu Dubai after it normalization with Tel Aviv.
Without revealing their names, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a recent interview dropped a hint that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been pressurizing Islamabad to normalize its ties with Israel. Islamabad has vowed not to give diplomatic recognition to Israel.
Over 5 million Pakistanis work in the UAE and Saudi Arabia the two biggest remittance generating Arab states. Analysts say Pakistan is running out of options and in the current situation, it may inch closer to Turkey, Qatar, Iran and more particularly China to offset pressure from the UAE and Saudi Arabia that are strengthening their alliance with the US, India and Israel.