Pak-Saudi relationship in perspective
PAKISTAN-Saudi relationship is based on solid foundation of spiritualism and Islamic philosophy with a people-centric approach; hence it is steadfast, resolute and deep-rooted.
The state-to-state relationship developed from the solid basis of divine connections and people- centric bondage.
This is unique in the world with no parallel elsewhere. Unfortunately, a recent statement of Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has been misinterpreted by the media to create a crevice in this never-ending and unwavering historical relationship.
The statement has emphasized the need for calling the meeting of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the issues like Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine and construction of a Ram Temple after demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India.
Mr Qureshi said, “I am telling the OIC to convene the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
If they cannot do it, then I will be compelled to ask the Prime Minister to call a meeting of Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir.
” FM Qureshi also highlighted the spiritual relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia by saying, “Pakistanis are always ready to sacrifice their lives for Makkah and Madina (indeed, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).
In fact, the KSA has always supported the Pakistani stance on Kashmir. The statement never meant creating a dip in the decades old relationship between the Kingdom and Pakistan and also with OIC.
The media and elements having vested interests tried to interpret the statement in their own ways indeed to the disfavour of Riyadh and Islamabad.
Going by chronology, Pakistan and KSA established their bilateral relationship soon after Pakistan came into being in 1947.
This beginning of relations between the two Muslim countries was based on solid foundation of Islamic ideology.
Since Pakistan came into being, based on Islamic ideology and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was protecting, maintaining and indeed taking extreme care of two holiest places of Islam; the Holy Mosque (Kaaba Tullah) and Masjid al-Nabawi, therefore, a unanimity of religious norms and values further deepened this bilateral relationship.
Indeed, Muslims of the sub-continent had deep religious affiliation with their holy places, protected and secured by the Kingdom.
Once Pakistan became a reality, this relationship was further diversified and reinforced at three levels; the people-to-people relationship, the state-to-state relationship and strategic relationship among the militaries of the two states.
Pakistan and the KSA signed a “Treaty of Friendship” in 1951. This treaty in fact laid the formal basis for the bilateral relationship between these two Muslim brothers.
Apart from cooperation between the two, this Treaty of Friendship devised a mechanism for political, diplomatic, cultural, economic and religious relationship between the Kingdom and Pakistan.
Based on this, bilateral relations “were buttressed over the coming decades by a tradition of strong financial and strategic assistance extended to each other by the two brotherly countries whenever required.
” Since the Middle East has been in turmoil ever since WW-I, therefore, the role of Saudi Arabia has been very significant, unique and indeed bringing stability in the entire Arab world.
From the establishment of the Kingdom in the early 1930s till to-date, there have been many challenges to the successive kings of this great Muslim Kingdom which successive kings coped with a lot of wisdom.
Upon taking over the power in 2015, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz reiterated his relationship with Pakistan at all levels; the political, strategic, economic, cultural and people to people.
Under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), there has been revitalization in the Saudi Kingdom at political, military, economic and cultural levels in the last five years.
The Kingdom has been reformed under the vision of MBS which aims at bringing an element of moderation in Saudi society, futuristic approach in education, pluralism and a corruption-free environment.
In this brief period of King Salman’s reign, Saudi Arabia met the challenges of Yemen War, crisis in Iran-Saudi relations, internal militancy, Syrian crisis, the major powers’ interests in the Arabian Gulf, the modernization of Saudi armed forces and most significantly to harmonize the Saudi civil society.
While keeping his son, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman at the forefront, King Salman is tackling all these challenges with a forethought and great prudence.
In the Pak-Saudi relationship, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, has unparalleled services and contributions towards advancement, strengthening and revitalization of bilateral association between Riyadh and Islamabad.
Ambassador Malki is highly popular among the people of Pakistan, the media circle and academic community of Pakistan.
Owing to his dedicated efforts, both brotherly countries have managed their bilateral, regional and global issues through unanimity of policies and cooperative forethoughts.
Besides Amb Malki, another Saudi academician, Professor Dr Hathal Homoud Alotaibi, President of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) is working with a lot of dedication for the gradual improvement of the University in all fields.
He took a lot of new initiatives for the betterment of IIUI ever since he assumed the charge of the University in 2020.
He gave a new strategic plan to the university with a lot of academic reforms. Under his leadership two new faculties were added in IIUI and teaching and research have been reoriented in line with international practices.
He has also taken some initiatives to de-politicize IIUI from all political, ethnic and sectarian-related problems.
Under the leadership of Prof.Dr.Hathal, IIUI is on its way to academic excellence, refinement in its internal procedures and achieving the academic distinction at par with international academic standards.
Islamabad and Riyadh would never let their foes create any sort of delusion in their marvellous bilateral relationship.
Pak-Saudi relationship has stood the test of time. Both brotherly countries are determined to support each other at crucial times.
Both share their concerns over regional and international issues through the bond of bilateralism.
“Over the years, the two countries have also succeeded in developing a unique synergy for mutual development.”
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.