- Pakistan’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is under a heavy stress due a series of strategic blunders committed by Pakistan.
- The cultural ties have gone under severe strain due to the duplicity and radical tendencies the Pakistani Deep State and the ISI has developed.
- Pakistan is also having problems in terms of its religious clerics creating trouble in the Saudi territory with the promotion of their jihadi extremism
In contemporary geopolitics, it has become an open secret that Pakistan is not a trustworthy partner to sustain a stable and strategic relationship with most of the countries. But it’s most important partner in the Islamic world, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has become highly sceptical of Pakistan’s establishment in the recent past. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles, as its military industrial complex, through its heightened corruption and nepotism is adding fuel to the crisis that is already getting out of control. Currently Pakistan is managing to sustain its bare minimum necessaries through the IMF bailout package, which has seized and taken over the control of its central bank operations, functioning and management.
But interestingly all these decades Pakistan had a reliable, strategic and religious ally Saudi Arabia, by its side, and it was providing financial, political and military support quite unequivocally. It’s not the case anymore. Pakistan’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is under a heavy stress due a series of strategic blunders committed by Pakistan.
The most predominant of all the aspects that have affected the relationship is, Pakistan’s non payment of the Saudi loans resulting in the mounting of a huge financial debt. There is no clarity on the amount of Saudi debt on Pakistan, but it is estimated from several sources that Pakistan has to repay a whopping 3.75$ billion USD. Though Pakistan has tried to repay a fraction of this debt, it is in no position to repay the entire loan. Gaining some insights from top diplomatic and political sources across the world tells us that Saudi Arabia has stopped funding Pakistan, until it receives most of its repayments.
The most predominant of all the aspects that have affected the relationship is, Pakistan’s non payment of the Saudi loans resulting in the mounting of a huge financial debt.
This scenario leaves Pakistan in a disarray of gigantic financial mess, as Pakistan is well aware that Chinese bailout packages come with stringent and deceptive preconditions that clearly aim for the financial enslavement of Pakistan. As the financial relations have worsened, so have the religious and cultural relations. Pakistan was one of the key religious allies of Saudi Arabia, because of which the Pakistani army was providing security to the holy Shrine of Kabha in Mecca. This security agreement was recently scrapped by the Saudis by appointing their own security to the shrine.
In the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) the Saudi Arabia led lobby has reduced Pakistan to “South Asian Islamic partner” from “Important Strategic Islamic Ally” status. It’s role in the OIC has been significantly reduced in the recent years due to it’s overt hyphenation with the Kashmir issue. In fact Pakistan’s Foreign Minister was fuming and locking horns with the Saudi establishment for not raising the Kashmir issue and Article 370 of India, in the international forums. The Saudi establishment got furiously disenchanted by the disgraceful behaviour of the Pakistani foreign minister, due to which the Pak army chief Gen Bajwa had to rush to Saudi Arabia to do the damage control. In fact the Saudi leadership refused to meet the Pak army chief, and he had to return back disgracefully.
Pakistan is also having problems in terms of its religious clerics creating trouble in the Saudi territory with the promotion of their jihadi extremism spewing of venom against India. The cultural ties have gone under severe strain due to the duplicity and radical tendencies the Pakistani Deep State and the ISI has developed. Terror funding, funding of radical movements like Khalistan movement and Pakistan’s tacit support to the Muslim brotherhood has upset Saudi Arabia to its core.
When I was having an informal conversation with a former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he revealed to me that “Saudi Arabia considers Pakistan as a nuisance rogue nation, with no natural identity and lacking an original history. And in fact since the last few years, India’s image and statute has exponentially increased amongst the Saudis and their establishment is keen on developing deeper strategic ties with India. This is the reason that Saudi Arabia has awarded it’s highest civilian honour to our prime minister Narendra Modi.”
“Saudi Arabia considers Pakistan as a nuisance rogue nation, with no natural identity and lacking an original history”– Former India Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
One fact became absolutely clear from the interaction with him, which is the growing importance of India in world politics and especially in the middle eastern region, and also the fact that Pakistan is not in a position anymore to win over the trust of Saudi Arabia. The vicious cycle of poverty-stricken underdevelopment, economic travesty of the worst kind, Islamist radicalization of the worst order and the fence eating military industrial complex is making Pakistan go through a national turmoil and hellhole from where there is no point of return.