The Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia is on two day visit to Pakistan. He received royals welcome in Pakistan. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran khan himself drove his car to Prime Minister House. This was an indicator that Saudi Arabia has a special place in the hearts and minds of Pakistani people and government.
Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are friends in need and always came to rescue each other in difficult times. Saudi Arabia always came to rescue Pakistan from difficult economic situations. Saudi Arabia always generously provided financial assistance.
On the other hand, Pakistan provided much needed military support to Saudi Arabia in all the security challenges it faced so far. Pakistani military provided security assistance to see off the security crisis. It’s a great financial and security
It doesn’t matter who is in the government in Pakistan and which king ruling Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both countries always enjoyed special relationship and friendship. The history of friendship between the two countries also witnessed close personal relations and bonds between leaders.
The Zulfiqar Bhutto- Shah Faisal enjoyed very deep and close personal friendship and political understanding in the early 1970s. Then Shah Abdullah and Nawaz Sharif developed close personal relations. Shah Abdullah even rescued Nawaz Sharif when he was in deep trouble in 1999-2000.
Saudi king Shah Abdullah saved former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s life. In 2000, the kingdom provided him asylum after the Saudis convinced then-President Pervez Musharraf to release him from jail, where he had been held since the General Musharraf ousted him from power in 1999.
Saudi king Shah Abdullah also established special bond with General Musharaf and gifted him money to buy a house. He enjoyed good relations the royal family.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has enjoyed close relations throughout the history. Saudi and Pakistani leaders have maintained warm relations throughout modern history. The former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal once called the relationship “probably one of the closest relationships in the world between any two countries.”
For decades, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have maintained a unique alliance, rooted in Al Saud’s religious legitimacy, the strength and expertise of Pakistan’s military, the two states’ common geopolitical interests and the nearly two million Pakistani workers and professionals in the kingdom.
The crux of Saudi Arabia’s cooperation has largely been financial while the nuclear armed Pakistan has lent its support on the security front. Both countries supplement each other. One got money while other got one of the finest and most professional army. This combination has worked well in last many decades.
Since the 1960s, Pakistani soldiers have been stationed in Saudi Arabia to protect the Kingdom. Pakistan has also been providing training to Saudi soldiers and pilots. In 1969, Pakistani soldiers repulsed incursions by Yemeni forces. Pakistani engineers reportedly built Saudi fortifications along its border with Yemen. Pakistani soldiers were also deployed in the Kingdom during the Iran-Iraq war. Pakistani security forces played leading role in pacifying a rebellion in 1979 during Haj pilgrimage. Pakistani soldiers are permanently stationed in Saudi Arabia to protect the holy places and the kingdom.
According to a 2016 report, Saudi Arabia was the largest importer of Pakistani arms and had purchased small and medium conventional weaponry worth millions of US dollars. At a time when almost the entire world was criticising Islamabad for its nuclear experiments in response to the Indian tests, Saudi Arabia was among the few that congratulated Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia had also started providing 50,000 barrels a day of free crude oil worth $2 billion to Pakistan on deferred payments in 1998 and 1999 at the request of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif following sanctions imposed against Pakistan by the world community. A major portion of this amount was later converted into a grant and the facility was extended in the subsequent years.
In the first quarter of 2014, it was reported that Saudi Arabia “loaned” $1.5 billion to Pakistan to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects.
So Saudi Arabia is doing the same as it done in the past, irrespective of who is in the government, to rescue Pakistan from financial troubles.
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24 July, 2019