GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Zahid Shahab
Title of Paper:
Pakistan’s relations with the GCC countries: opportunities and challenges
Paper Proposal Text :
Traditional ties have existed between the Gulf region and the Indian sub-continent for centuries. After independence from the British in 1947, Pakistan continues to enjoy important economic and strategic ties with the GCC countries. Pakistan’s relations with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are strengthened through several bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade, security and economic cooperation. By being home to a large number of skilled labour, Pakistan also has an increasing number of diaspora in the Gulf region; therefore, benefit from remittances – a major contribution to the country’s GDP. Pakistan has long been a recipient of development aid from the oil rich Arab states, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, thus has been exposed to influence from such countries. The GCC countries have been active in domestic politics of Pakistan. For example, during the General Musharraf era, Nawaz Sharif (the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) was pressured by Saudi Arabia to reach an agreement with the dictator. An important aspect of Pakistan’s relations with the GCC region is to obtain support against its pending disagreements with India, mainly the Kashmir dispute. However, considering the growing relations of India with the Gulf region, the GCC countries have been trying to maintain a balance between their relations with India and Pakistan by not involving in their rivalry. This paper analyses the current status of Pakistan’s relations with the GCC countries in the areas of defence, trade and development. Considering India’s emerging role in the Gulf region, this paper seeks to discuss both opportunities and challenges for Islamabad. Also, this paper aims to answer the following questions: Why the GCC countries occasionally interfere in political affairs of Pakistan? Why the involvement of the Gulf States has not been seen with suspicion in Pakistan? Is it because of the religious connection or because of Pakistan’s dependence on economic aid from the GCC region?