Last month, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) came on the state visit to Pakistan. His visit took place during the days when Pakistan is reeling under the vicious cycle of economic turmoil. Earlier, in October 2018, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan made his journey to the gulf kingdom, where he sought Saudi assistance to counter economic turbulence. In response, the KSA affirmed its support to Islamabad in the form of $3 billion in foreign currency support one year and supply of $3 billion worth of oil on deferred payment for three years. The package figures around $12 billion. And now, the recent visit of MBS also portrays the same picture that he arrived Pakistan. For many analysts and think tanks, MBS’ visit is identical to carte blanche. It was clear evidence of the strong rooted ties between the two states. He also called himself an ambassador to Pakistan in the KSA. Subsequently, the crown prince also announced the release of 2100 Pakistani prisoners. Undoubtedly, MBS’ visit to Pakistan is not the only economic triumph for Pakistan but also foreign policy jubilation of which Pakistan seemed feeble for many years. The KSA has been the all-weather friend and the closest ally of Pakistan. It offered even hand to Pakistan whenever the latter necessitated. Besides, the KSA enjoys the state of special reverence for the Pakistanis as it is the birthplace of Islam. Both countries are Islamic, and their religious affinity brings them on the closest and cordial terms. Along with it, the KSA shares the strategic as well transactional bond with Pakistan and are wild cards to each other. The KSA being rich country always backed Pakistan, when it came to monetary assistance. Likewise, due to its army might, Pakistan remained pompous to guard the KSA. Also, the KSA stood by Pakistan, when the latter came across diplomatic isolation from the global powers. Another positive aspect of the relationship between Pakistan and KSA is the best people to people contact. Almost 2 million people from the side of Pakistan are working in the KSA. Both countries are well connected with each other. If one purchases oil from the other, then other is the buyer of armaments from the one. The red carpet welcomes are indications that Pakistan and the KSA have squared their issues. Pakistan is proficient enough in diffusing the tensions between the regional powers of the Middle EastAmidst all these good tidings, Pakistan has perhaps miscalculated the ties with its neighbour Iran. Such advancement of relations of Pakistan with the KSA is an eye-sore for Iran. The two regional powers in the Middle East contend for the dominance. The rivalry between the two countries is due to the difference in the ideology of Islam. The KSA is the Sunni majority country whereas, on the other hand, Iran possesses the bulk of the Shia population. The scuffle between these two states is the desire to propagate their respective ideology in the region. The dispute between them has made the region vulnerable to instability and insurgency.In this delicate and critical situation, Pakistan ought to establish friendly terms with Iran.If on one hand Pakistan enjoys good relationships with KSA, it will have to offer balanced approachto Iran. At times, no country is capable to afford isolation, especially its neighbours. The KSA is rich in its oil resources and ever has helped Pakistan with this natural boon. But Pakistan must be aware of the significance of Iran. Iran has the world’s third largest oil reserves and also wealthy in its gas resources. Iran is capable of feeding the industry of Pakistan with its natural resources and shares a border about 900kms long with Pakistan. Thus, Iran does not only matter for Pakistan in a transactional way but significant for the latter strategically. Recently, an attack on the revolutionary guards of Iran in February has worsened the matters for bilateral ties. Iran has foisted the responsibility of these attacks on Pakistan. The relationship of such sort is not in favour of both countries. Last year, in November, the US imposed economic sanctions on Iran that aimed to isolate and threaten. The US is wary of Iran and perceives it cancerous for the region. Therefore, the US will never want to see Pakistan mend its links with Iran. This desire of the US is likely to escalate the tensions between the two neighbours. Pakistan holds immense value for the US, the KSA, and Iran. For the US, Pakistan is the wildcard in bringing the Taliban on reconciliatory terms and can act as the mediator between the US-China tussle. For the KSA, Pakistan is propitious in terms of security and capable of providing nuclear assistance. And for Iran, Pakistan can turn out its benefactor, by bringing the regional Middle Eastern rivals on the same page. Keeping in view such significance of Pakistan for these countries, it can urge the US and the KSA to mend their ways with Iran.Pakistan is proficient enough in diffusing the tensions between the regional powers of the Middle East. If Pakistan remains more inclined towards the KSA, this could ostensibly be better for Pakistan, but Iran wouldn’t beckon delightedly this move. Pakistan must apprehend that Iran shares a border with Baluchistan, which is the most vulnerable province in terms of security and development. The security situation of the province will be far better in case of friendly links with Iran. Visit of the Crown Prince to Pakistan is surely far longing success in the foreign policy of Pakistan. However, PM Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi should not content here. Pakistan ought to deepen its terms with Iran. It needs to go beyond in placating the matters among the KSA, the US, and Iran. Thereby, emerging as an arbitrator for these countries.The writer is an electrical engineerPublished in Daily Times, March 18th 2019.