SAUDI Arabia has once again underscored the importance that the Kingdom attaches to its fraternal and strategic relations with Pakistan. The reiteration came from Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during his meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey on Friday. A statement issued after their meeting said the two sides agreed on “further deepening bilateral trade and economic cooperation including in the field of energy”.
Saudi leadership and people always demonstrated their commitment to the cause of Pakistan and they gave its practical demonstration during periods of trial and tribulation. Pakistan cannot forget valuable political, diplomatic, economic and financial support extended by the Kingdom on different occasions, which helped the country overcome its crises. We have also been emphasizing in these columns that, like China, assistance of KSA was also without any pre-conditions as Riyadh always respected the sensitivities of people of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries of the world that appreciate Pakistan’s stand on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and express solidarity with Kashmiris whose human rights are being trampled by Indian occupation forces. It is also a fact that differences of opinion do crop up among friends because of regional and global developments and the need for adjustments and realignments but instead of highlighting them through media statements, efforts are made to sort them out amicably. It is hoped that during the Niamey meeting, the two sides might have discussed irritants as well and sustained efforts would be made to bring back the relationship to an enviable level as stood before. Prime Minister Imran Khan may consider visiting Riyadh for in-depth talks with Saudi leadership but before that our Foreign Office ought to have initiated contacts with Saudi authorities at different levels to explore ways and means to strengthen relations in different spheres of life for which a solid foundation exists.