Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Turkish Music Video - Hadise - Prenses

Critics in Turkey Question Credibility of Judges Who Oversaw Vote


The credibility of the judges who oversaw Turkey’s referendum last week is being called into question because most of them were hastily appointed when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purged the judiciary after last summer’s failed coup.
A narrow majority of Turks voted to change the Constitution on April 16 in a poll that formally granted vast new powers to the office of the Turkish presidency beginning in 2019 and informally validated the already-authoritarian mind-set of Mr. Erdogan.
But the legitimacy of Mr. Erdogan’s victory has been tainted by accusations of voter fraud at polling stations across the country — and by an odd series of erratic decisions on the day of the vote by the judges who head the electoral commission. Eight of the 11 judges on the panel had been recently replaced.
The opposition has questioned the results of thousands of ballot boxes, after videos showed evidence of ballot-box stuffing and voter intimidation on the day of the vote, and opposition campaigners faced prolonged intimidation during the campaign that preceded it. But the single biggest controversy was the last-minute decision by the electoral commission to override electoral law and allow officials to count what the opposition says are millions of votes that lacked an official stamp proving their authenticity.
The decision has cast a shadow over the commission, known by its Turkish initials, Y.S.K. It was once one of Turkey’s most trusted institutions, but it now faces accusations of inconsistency, incompetence and bias.
The Y.S.K. board consists of 11 voting members selected from the judiciary, and a quartet of observers representing each of Turkey’s four largest political parties, who can participate in the board’s discussions but cannot cast votes. “You are not a referee. You are taking sides,” Osman Baydemir, an opposition lawmaker, said last week in a speech that was aimed at the judges.
Most of the members of the Y.S.K. board were appointed under controversial circumstances last September, when several thousand jurists accused of links to the group that the government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup were unseated. Three members of the Y.S.K. board were fired during this crackdown. Five other members left their posts earlier in the year, at the end of their terms, but had not yet been replaced.
Eight new members were then appointed by a separate judicial body that was itself reconstituted in the weeks after the coup, as Mr. Erdogan’s government sought to reassert its grip on state institutions.
“The fact that eight of the 11 judges on the board were appointed during a crackdown on the judiciary, and amid such an environment of fear, raises questions about their neutrality and their willingness to vote against the government,” said Koray Caliskan, a politics professor at Bogazici University in Istanbul.
New details have now emerged about the chaotic way the board made decisions on the day of the vote, after interviews with three of the four observers who were present throughout their deliberations.
Shortly before 6 a.m., the board sent a text message to election officials reminding them that all ballots must be validated by an official stamp. At 10 a.m., two hours after voting began, they issued a statement with the same conclusion, with the clarification that the stamp could be placed on either the front or back of the ballot.
Yet just hours later, in the same room on the fourth floor of the commission’s headquarters in Ankara, the same judges made a U-turn that the opposition says has rendered it impossible to verify the results of the contested election. At 4:10 p.m. — with counting already underway in eastern Turkey and 50 minutes before the polls would close in populous western Turkey — Recep Ozer, the observer representing Mr. Erdogan’s party, asked the board to retroactively allow election officials to count unstamped ballots.
He was in such a rush that he had no time to prepare his request on a computer. Instead, he jotted it down by hand and presented the handwritten document to the judges.
Kursat Turker Ercan, the representative of a far-right nationalist party that backed the referendum, said little. But Hadimi Yakupoglu and Mehmet Tiryaki, the representatives of the two largest opposition parties in Parliament, were shocked. It was “unbelievable,” Mr. Yakupoglu said, that such a move would come so late in the day. “It’s so dangerous,” Mr. Yakupoglu remembers telling the judges, as they debated Mr. Ozer’s proposal. “We can’t trust the result of the election after this.”
Mr. Yakupoglu was concerned not only that the proposal would break the law or that its timing would undermine the credibility of a respected Turkish institution. Just as significantly, it would make it impossible to know which unstamped ballots had been added fraudulently and which by mistake.
“With this decision,” Mr. Tiryaki remembers saying, “we will never be able to know if papers were brought from the outside and stuffed into the ballot boxes.”
As the clock ticked on, Mr. Ozer denied there was a significant risk of fraud. Instead, he said he had information that thousands of legitimate voters had innocently used invalid ballots because inexperienced election officials did not realize the ballots needed to be stamped, or had not had time to do so. Should these voters, he asked the judges, be denied their democratic right because of someone else’s administrative error?
Asked why this was never as big an issue in previous polls, Mr. Ozer said that the presiding officers at each polling station were likely to have been unusually inexperienced this year because of recent changes in the way they were appointed. Additionally, ballot papers were delivered to polling stations later than usual for security reasons, meaning that officials had less time to stamp them, he said. As a compromise, Mr. Tiryaki and Mr. Yakupoglu suggested that the situation could be reviewed on a box-by-box basis during the appeals process that follows the election. But Mr. Ozer insisted the decision needed to be made on a national basis, then and there, while the judges were still in the dark about who had won. “What is fundamental here: The counting was not over, and the Y.S.K. members didn’t know about any result from any ballot box,” Mr. Ozer said in a recent interview in his office.
Despite the significance and tense nature of the debate, all parties said it was conducted in a surprisingly calm manner. Turkey’s political discourse is increasingly toxic, but the four observers have learned to get along after working for so long in such proximity. Their offices are within a few yards of one another, and they sometimes share lunch together.
In the end, about 4:50 p.m., 10 minutes before voting closed in western Turkey, the 11 judges voted unanimously in Mr. Ozer’s favor. Shortly after 5 p.m., with counting almost finished in eastern Turkey, their decision was sent via text message to the officials presiding over the 166,000 ballot boxes. Three hours later, the president claimed victory. But the manner in which it was achieved has — in the eyes of Mr. Erdogan’s critics — damaged both his legitimacy and that of the electoral commission.
“The saddest thing about all this is that the Y.S.K. used to be the most trusted institution in Turkey,” Mr. Tiryaki said. “But this decision shakes that trust.”

The UK has made 10 times more in arms sales to Saudi Arabia than it's given in aid to Yemen

Rasha Mohamed

    Similarly, the US sold a record amount of arms to Saudi Arabia under Obama’s administration, with sales set to continue under Trump. Earlier this month the State Department approved a resumption in the $300m sale of US-made precision-guided missiles, a deal blocked late in Obama’s administration due to concerns over civilian casualties.
    Bustling, buzzing and bartering. That is how I would once have described a typical market (or souk) in Yemen.
    Not any longer. These days they’re often barren and lifeless. During my many visits, I’ve seen the devastation of once busy souks destroyed by Saudi coalition airstrikes. Skeletal structures of buildings and stalls lie empty where once vibrant businesses sold coffee, spices, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, clothes and children’s toys.
    By contrast, on the other side of the world a lucrative market in high-tech weaponry is positively thriving. Over the past two years, the UK and the US have sold billions of pounds’ worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, arms used to obliterate Yemeni markets and much else.
    In Yemen, I’ve met countless victims of airstrikes who’ve lost loved ones or had livelihoods destroyed, leaving them impoverished and destitute. After two years of this, the country is facing a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, with more than 18 million Yemenis requiring humanitarian assistance.
    On the one hand, the UK and US have supported Yemen with around £371.5m in aid during the past two conflict-ridden years. On the other, British and American arms companies, with the authorisation of the UK and US governments, have busily supplied much of the weaponry that Saudi Arabia has used for its devastating attacks in its southern neighbour.
    Since the war started in March 2015, the UK Government has approved no less than 194 export licences for arms and related equipment to Saudi Arabia, worth more than £3.3bn (or around 10 times that combined UK-US aid sum). Resisting a sustained chorus of calls to halt arms exports after numerous airstrikes by the Saudis that have violated the laws of war, the UK has repeatedly fallen back on arguments about “assurances” it had received from Riyadh about investigations of more careful targeting.
    Similarly, the US sold a record amount of arms to Saudi Arabia under President Obama’s administration, with sales set to continue under President Trump. Earlier this month the State Department approved a resumption in the $300m sale of US-made precision-guided missiles, a deal blocked late in Obama’s administration due to (belated) concerns over civilian casualties. These arms sales are in contravention of international law. The UK, once a champion of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (which seeks to stem the flow of weapons that could be used for war crimes and other serious violations), is now acting in brazen violation of it. The UK has ratified the treaty, so it is bound by its rules; and as a signatory, the US must not take any action to undermine its object and purpose, one of which is to reduce human suffering. With arms being shipped to Riyadh at a furious rate, the civilian death toll has risen quickly. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently reported that more than 4,600 civilians have been killed and over 8,000 injured in the conflict to date.
    To be sure, Houthi opposition forces have killed and injured civilians in Yemen with impunity using imprecise battlefield weapons in residential areas, displaying a total disregard for civilian lives. Such indiscriminate attacks violate the laws of war and may amount to war crimes. At the same time, OHCHR reports that airstrikes have been the “single largest cause of casualties”, with the Saudi-led coalition relentlessly pummelling Yemeni homes, hospitals, factories and funeral halls.
    Aid with one hand, missiles with the other. Foreign aid from the UK does tremendous good around the world, but in Yemen it’s heavily compromised by the Government’s security-and-trade agenda. Helping rebuild homes and hospitals is clearly very important, but it doesn’t change the fact that the UK or US are complicit in having supplied the bombs used to destroy them.
    Here the UK and US are following the dubious lead of Saudi Arabia itself. While heading the military coalition wreaking such havoc in Yemen, the country’s King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Relief and Works, set up in May 2015 in response to the crisis, has spent $576m in Yemen. Amid dire reports of famine and an irreversible humanitarian crisis, last month it pledged a further $10bn. Huge sums. But the context is coated with pitch-black irony.
    Last May, evidence was found that British-manufactured cluster munitions had been used by Saudi Arabia in villages in northern Yemen. At the time the UK Government rejected this evidence. Seven months later, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was telling the House of Commons about an admission from Saudi Arabia that it had used them, but would not do so again. Good enough for the UK Government. The arms sales continued. Those self-same Yemeni villagers hit by deadly cluster sub-munitions manufactured in the UK (or the US, or Brazil), might – if they’re lucky – receive humanitarian assistance from either London, Washington or Riyadh.
    But that’s how things are done in Yemen now. Missiles raining down one day, new kit for a bombed-out hospital the next. Such is the UK’s warped Yemen policy. Meanwhile, Yemen’s charred markets lie abandoned and desolate.

    Video - Saudi Arabia Uncovered - ITV Documentary-May 2016

    Awarding Saudi Arabia chair on Women's Rights Commission makes UN complicit in crimes

    Ms. Marwa Osma
    The Saudi Arabia that publicly beheads women and dangles bodies from cranes was just elected to the UN Women’s Rights Commission. This is not the punchline of a twisted joke, but the intergovernmental UN shaming itself. After the scandal of re-electing Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016, that same Saudi Arabia which has been indiscriminately bombing Yemeni civilians for more than two years, now gets 'elected' to the new position of Women’s Rights Commission for 2018-2022 term by the United Nations' premier human rights body.
    The first thing that crossed my mind when I read this news was the scene of women getting decapitated on the streets of Riyadh, the place where brutal executions are so frequent that one large public space is nicknamed ‘Chop Chop Square’ due to the sheer number of state-sanctioned killings there.
    If you are having a hard time fathoming these facts simply watch ITV’s shocking documentary, which reveals the horrors of daily life inside Saudi Arabia. Titled ‘Saudi Arabia Uncovered,' the film aims to expose the brutal punishments dished out to those deemed to have broken the country’s strict Islamic laws. At one point, a woman accused of killing her stepdaughter is heard screaming “I didn’t do it” before she is beheaded in the street. Another clip shows five corpses strung up from a crane.
    Saudi Arabia's human rights record has been called into question numerous times before, especially last year after 47 people - including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr - were executed in a single day.

    Secret vote (likely incl UK) gives world's most misogynistic state SaudiArabia seat on UN Women's Rights Commissionhttps://www.rt.com/news/385847-women-rights-un-saudis/ 

    Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that flared up in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalization.
    Despite making extensive use of the death penalty and carrying out dozens of public executions, the 'rich' country remains a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and now also an advocate (!) for women’s rights.
    I could write extensively about the women right's violations and the human rights abuses by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or about the agencies that are helping to whitewash these human rights violations, but I would rather link you to an Independent article, which lists ten examples of human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia and another exposé about a PR firm accused of helping Saudi Arabia 'whitewash' its human rights record by deleting reference to its client after multiple challenges from a human rights group.
    What I would really like to consider is the question: What on Earth is going on at the UN? Is the global body aware the country they keep awarding new positions to actually has NO Constitution?! Let us begin by looking at its Basic Law in which the government in the kingdom bases its legitimacy on its interpretation of sharia (Islamic Law) and the 1992 Basic Law, which specifies the rulers of the country shall be male descendants of the founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al-Saud.

    wanna hear a joke?
    Saudi Arabia has been elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
    Let me state that again…“Male” descendants. It all starts there.The most important human rights problems reported by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2017 report included the lack of ability and legal means for citizens to choose their government; restrictions on universal rights, such as freedom of expression, including on the internet, and the freedoms of assembly, association, movement, and religion; and pervasive gender discrimination and lack of equal rights that affected all aspects of women’s lives.
    In the words of the (HRW): “Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact despite government pledges to abolish it. Under this system, adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian—usually a husband, father, brother, or son—to travel, marry, or exit prison. They may be required to provide guardian consent in order to work or access healthcare. Women regularly face difficulty conducting a range of transactions without a male relative, from renting an apartment to filing legal claims. All women remain banned from driving cars in Saudi Arabia.”
    Did the UN read this paragraph? I will answer that for you. Yes, they did, and they simply ignored it. Just as they did when the UN reprehensibly backed down on its condemnation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after it threatened in June 2016 to break relations with the United Nations and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance for humanitarian relief and counter-terrorism programs to strong-arm the UN. All of that to push the UN into removing Riyadh and its allies from a blacklist of groups that are accused of harming Yemeni children in armed conflict. That happened as the Saud-led coalition’s naval blockade of Yemen’s ports drastically limited the supply of food and medicine, leaving over 80 percent of the population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. It becomes even more disgraceful when these facts are listed by the United Nations’ own Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and International Sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, who said the plight of people in the country is becoming increasingly desperate.
    Eleven years since it was first created the UN Human Rights Council has gone beyond the point of facing a stark moment of truth to where it is now confronted with a shocking scandal.

    Imagine being an abused woman in Saudi Arabia & finding out that your abusive,oppressive country was elected to UN women's rights committee
    The credibility of the world’s top human rights body, which was set up to ensure it is able to effectively address human rights violations without being undermined by geopolitics and competing national interests, is now being brought into question because of the dreadful track record of one of its members, Saudi Arabia, and the failure of other members to call it to account. Rather than putting an end to the hypocrisy of Saudi Arabia at the Human Rights Council, the UN keeps giving more human rights positions to the kingdom on a silver plate.
    If the UN feels somehow compelled to turn a blind eye to the human rights violations committed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before it joined the UN, then the least it could do is track KSA’s horrendous record since it joined the UN Human Rights Council in January 2014. Since then the kingdom has carried out gross and systematic human rights violations both at home and in neighboring Yemen.
    We are currently at a time when the United Nations is assuming a posture of complete complicity with Saudi Arabia’s inhuman tyrannical war crimes, human rights violations, suffering, slavery and religious persecution. The UN is now literally Saudi Arabia’s cynical cover-up body that helps it get away with and conceal its gross and systematic violations by offering it to chair both the UN Human Rights Council and the Women’s Rights Commission.
    The UN as a top human rights body has been sucked into the abyss of money and power, and there is no sign of a return to a rational and fair position in the near future.

    Music Video - Shakira - Chantaje - ft. Maluma

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    #Pakistan - #Lahore: Vandals torch Church torched after congregants marked Good Friday

    By - Madeeha Bakhsh

    Vandals purportedly torched a make-shift church built on a vacant plot in Lahore. The incident occurred on April 14, after the congregants had observed Goof Friday prayers. Followed by the incident, District and Sessions court was moved seeking justice in this case.
    In this regard, a petition was filed in the court, while it was maintained that the church built on an eight-kanal plot was torched by assailants who had previously warned the Christians to vacate the plot. The petitioner Rani Mughal maintained that the assailants warned them of dire consequences, if the plot was not vacated immediately.
    The petitioner had named Munib Usmani, Mukhtar Bajwa, Ahmed Usmani and Sohail Dar, and others. A day after the threatening Christians, the assailants arrived again and ransacked the tents set up on the plot while they torched the makeshift church.
    In this regard, the petitioner requested the court to direct the concerned police officials to register a case and proceed with the investigations. The district and sessions court has sought the comments of concerned SHO.
    A Christian social worker Kashif Sohail, told the media that place was torched however, no one was injured as the assailants wanted to terrorize the community. He said that the affected Christians went to the local police station but their compliant was overlooked. Consequently, they had filed a petition in the district and sessions court seeking justice and legal action against the attackers.
    On the other hand, the Cantonment SP Operations Rana Tahir Rehman remarked that the matter was referred to Defence ASP. He said that a report will be submitted within three days. “It is premature to confirm anything at this stage,” SP Operations remarked.

    Pakistan - Why Hazara Community is marginalized?

    By: Ejaz Magsi

    Upon the collapse of Soviet forces the Jihadi groups took the throne of Afghan in the shape of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The misery was that these groups did not sit idle after war and they continued promoting their self-based style of Islamic principles in the region. Due to share of large border with Afghanistan, Balochistan is prone to rift and violence. Geography of Balochistan and scattered mountains are proved to be a safe haven for extremist groups.
    The country like Pakistan has gone through many phases of conflict within its borders. Conflicts between and among provinces over the share of natural resources, premises of provinces, linguistic ground,  ethnic ground, religious ground, nationalistic ground hence, conflicts has evolved any phases.
    Who are Hazaras?
    Small eyes with white-shining face, flat hairs and a soft voice from a far distance made them be identified and classified easily. Bravery is their identity and love is their character. They are as civilized as member of the ancient Greek civilization. Traders by profession having God gifted depiction of art and abundant of talent. Culturally rich nation have a strong grip on arts and music. Their cultural dishes have their own identity and taste. The clench on their culture and arts can be determined through their handmade arts alike Men’s shoes and also embroidery. Hazaras are sociable, friendly, gregarious, affable and hospitable. They are a brave nation, and secular by nature.
    Why Hazara Community as a victimized community?
    Hazara community is the 3rd largest community in Balochistan numbering approx. 700,000, mostly Shiite by sectbut some of them are Bralvi.  Additionally, this community has great services and contributed a large share for the uplift of this countryThere can be many reasons but some aspect of the tension will be analyzed through the following features.
    Cultural aspects
    Culture is the symbol of identity of any nation or community. It is the differentiation line of one community from other through classification of norms and values. Likewise Hazara community has their identical norms and value poses as a rich culture. This community has strong grip on art and sports. The melody of their music is so softening and attractive. Their youth is skilled and talented and in all sports they have earned fame. Question arises here that what can be the reason of hatred against them? Is their culture is the reason or there may be other aspects?
    Religious aspects?
    Shiite Sunni conflict is a well-sponsored and oiled conflict in the region. Ex-CM Baluchistan, Dr. Malik Baloch gave a sweeping statement in newspapers by terming this conflict a result of Iran and Saudi Arabia tension. It’s not a self-grown conflict but a self-ignited one.
    Business aspect
    The ethnic cleansing of Hazara nation is not pertinent to religious factor but it’s more directed towards business grounds as well. Hazara community is being targeted in different parts of Quetta by doing their business and they were being disturbed not to carry their business activities freely.
    Intellectual aspect

    The productive and creative work orientation by this community is publicly spectacle that their intellectual ability has proved consistency and patriotism with country. In the field of business the efforts of Hazaras are considered to be significant helped integrate nation’s sovereignty. Accumulation of national economic wealth at this surface and their contribution seems outstanding owing to entrepreneurship. They have shaped the stable economy for the country.


    At least 17 Shia Muslims mbraced martyrdom and many others were wounded when a passenger van hit a landmine in Godar area of tribal Kurram Agency on Tuesday morning, officials said. Deobandi ASWJ/Taliban terrorists laid explosive mines to hit their targeted people in the tribal areas.
    The death toll reached 17 after more injured person succumbed to the wounds. Earlier it was said the explosion when a remote-controlled device was detonated.
    Four of the deceased were Khasadar personnel who were deployed for census duty. 
    Doctors at Agency Headquarters Hospital said the condition of three of the injured was critical.
    The passenger van was en route from Godar to Sadda area.
    Godar is a far-off area of the tribal agency. The route from Godar to Sadda is an unpaved road, from where it takes hours to reach Parachinar.
    The injured persons were first taken to the hospital in Sadda, but since no doctors were present there, they were moved to Agency Headquarters Hospital Parachinar.
    The M-17 aircraft that has reached Parachinar, will fly some of the injured persons to Peshawar while those who are in a comparatively stable condition will be treated at the agency headquarters hospital.
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast.
    A number of explosions have taken place in Kurram Agency since the year started.
    On March 31, a car-bombing outside an imambargah left at least 24 people dead and over 90 injured.
    Prior to this, on March 12, a man was injured in a landmine explosion in Borki area of Kurram Agency. Political administration officials in Kurram said the landmine had been planted by unidentified terrorists in a mountainous area of the agency.
    "Ten people were killed, including a woman and one child," said Shahid Ali Khan, assistant political agent for Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
    The death toll reached 17 after more injured person succumbed to the wounds. Earlier it was said the explosion when a remote-controlled device was detonated.
    Four of the deceased were Khasadar personnel who were deployed for census duty.
    Doctors at Agency Headquarters Hospital said the condition of three of the injured was critical.
    The passenger van was en route from Godar to Sadda area.
    Godar is a far-off area of the tribal agency. The route from Godar to Sadda is an unpaved road, from where it takes hours to reach Parachinar.
    The injured persons were first taken to the hospital in Sadda, but since no doctors were present there, they were moved to Agency Headquarters Hospital Parachinar.
    The M-17 aircraft that has reached Parachinar, will fly some of the injured persons to Peshawar while those who are in a comparatively stable condition will be treated at the agency headquarters hospital.
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast.
    A number of explosions have taken place in Kurram Agency since the year started.
    On March 31, a car-bombing outside an imambargah left at least 24 people dead and over 90 injured.
    Prior to this, on March 12, a man was injured in a landmine explosion in Borki area of Kurram Agency. Political administration officials in Kurram said the landmine had been planted by unidentified terrorists in a mountainous area of the agency.


    Pakistan on collision course with Iran?

    Pakistan has approved the appointment of its former army chief, Raheel Sharif, as the head of a Saudi-led military alliance. Experts say the regional and domestic repercussions of this move could be disastrous.
    Pakistan has generally tried to maintain close ties with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, but this is now going to change completely.
    Despite the parliament's decision last year against becoming a party to the intensifying Saudi-Iranian conflict in the Middle East, particularly in Yemen, Islamabad recently approved the appointment of Raheel Sharif, the country's former army chief, as head of the 39-member Saudi-led military coalition. Riyadh says the Muslim nations' alliance was formed to fight terrorism in the region, but experts point out that it is primarily an anti-Iran grouping. Naturally, Tehran is not part of the coalition.
    The Associated Press news agency cited Pakistan's government officials as confirming that Raheel Sharif had departed to Riyadh on Friday to take the reins of the military alliance after Islamabad officially endorsed his leadership. The authorities, however, claim the coalition under Sharif's command won't take any action against Muslim countries.
    Sattar Khan, DW's correspondent, reports from Islamabad that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government has begun a diplomatic initiative to allay Tehran's concerns following Raheel Sharif's controversial appointment. But the efforts are unlikely to yield results, says Khan.
    "Saudi Arabia and Iran do not trust each other. Also, Riyadh does not want Islamabad to be neutral in the conflict; it wants its full support. In this scenario, how can Pakistan's diplomatic drive be successful?" Aman Memon, a former professor at the Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad, told DW.
    Dependence on Saudi Arabia
    In 2015, Riyadh formally requested Pakistan to provide combat planes, warships and soldiers to support the Arab coalition in fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. But the South Asian country's lawmakers voted to remain neutral in the conflict, albeit PM Sharif later clarified in a televised speech that in case of an aggression against Saudi Arabia, Pakistan would take Riyadh's side.
    Saudi Arabia, which is one of Pakistan's biggest financers, was unhappy with Islamabad's reluctance to join the coalition against Yemen's Shiite rebels. The Arab kingdom has been involved in a two-year-long campaign of airstrikes against Houthi rebels, who have taken over swathes of territory in Saudi Arabia's southern neighborhood, raising concerns in Riyadh about a potential Shiite uprising in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia also fears that Iran is working to increase its influence in the region.
    The Arab countries' coalition also has the backing of the United States. In the past few years, Islamabad has drifted away considerably from Washington but analysts say that both countries still have many common strategic interests in the region. Also, the Pakistani military heavily depends on the US funding.
    "Recently, a US official visited Saudi Arabia and expressed his country's support to the Saudi alliance. He also lampooned Iran. So the objectives of this grouping are pretty clear," Sabir Karbalai, an Islamabad-based analyst, told DW.
    The expert, however, added that Islamabad should have remained neutral in the Saudi-Iranian power struggle.
    Deteriorating ties
    Islamabad's over-enthusiasm to appease Riyadh could further exacerbate its relations with Tehran. The ties between the two neighbors have been tense for many years. The two countries have border conflicts, and Tehran is also not very pleased with Islamabad's alleged support to various Sunni militant groups, which have been involved in launching attacks in Iran's eastern areas, and massacring Shiite citizens inside Pakistan.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Pakistan in March last year in an attempt to convince Pakistani authorities to remain neutral in the Middle Eastern conflicts. Iran is aware of the concerns and limitations of its ties with Pakistan, but analysts say it still wants to maintain "normal" relations with Islamabad.
    "Pakistan remains solidly allied with Saudi Arabia, regardless of how intense the outreach may be from Tehran. There are decades of close military cooperation that are not about to be undone," Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told DW.
    Farhan Hanif Siddiqui, an International Relations expert at the Quaid-i-Azam University, believes that Pakistan needs to assure Iran that the Saudi alliance is not against any country.
    "It is vital for Pakistan to convince Iran that the Saudi-led alliance is only against al Qaeda and the so-called 'Islamic State.' If Tehran continues to believe that the Saudi coalition is targeting the regimes in Iraq and Syria, Pakistan's diplomatic efforts will be in vain," Siddiqui told DW.
    Sectarian strife
    The South Asian country's intelligentsia and civil society have voiced their displeasure and concern over Raheel Sharif's role in the Saudi alliance and Islamabad's direct involvement in the conflict.
    "Pakistan should not get involved in the Saudi Arabia-Iran regional rivalry," Mosharraf Zaidi, a former USAID consultant and Islamabad-based foreign policy expert, told DW. "We must not forget that Riyadh and Tehran have their own interests, therefore the Pakistani government, too, should do what is best for the country. It must keep good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, " he added.
    Pakistan's support to Saudi Arabia will also increase the Sunni-Shiite tension in the South Asian country. Analysts believe that the Sunni militant groups will feel further emboldened by the fact that the ex-army chief now heads the Saudi-led alliance.
    The sectarian strife in Pakistan has been ongoing for some time now, with militant Islamist groups unleashing terror on the minority Shiite groups in many parts of the country. Most of these outfits, including the Taliban, take inspiration from the hard-line Saudi-Wahabi Islamic ideology.
    "For Pakistan's Islamic fundamentalists, the country is already a 'Sunni Wall' against Shiite Iran," Siegfried O. Wolf, an expert at the University of Heidelberg's South Asia Institute, told DW in an interview.
    "The policy of containing the Shiite influence in the region was seriously affected after the collapse of the Sunni Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 and the subsequent overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq. These events created a power vacuum which is now being increasingly filled by Tehran. Saudi Arabia does not want to see the rise of Iran and will continue to do anything to ensure Sunni dominance," he underlined.