Pakistan’s Pivot

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Saudi Arabia is one of Pakistan’s oldest allies. The two countries have pursued extensive commercial and political relations since Pakistan’s establishment in 1947. However, Pakistan’s hesitancy to support its historic ally after Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of top Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, marks a distinct shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy.
This is not a partnership of equals — Pakistan’s domestic order has remained vulnerable to Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy moves, ranging from promoting Saudi Arabia’s version of Islam to fanning sectarianism. Saudi Arabia’s regional actions have caused sectarian tensions inside Pakistan to increase dramatically as Sunni and Shia forces wrestle for power in the region.