What does Saudi Arabia get in return for Pakistan’s help?
After the fall of Imran Khan’s government, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Riyadh. Islamabad and Riyadh have had strong ties since the founding of Pakistan. These ties have grown stronger since the 1970s, and Pakistani leaders usually visit Saudi Arabia on their first visit. Analysts believe that the main reason for this is the financial assistance received by Pakistan from Saudi Arabia.
A report in the local media claimed that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had managed to get an 8 billion aid package from Saudi Arabia. However, no final agreement has been reached, nor has any statement been issued by either side. Saudi Arabia had deposited 3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan in December 2021 under the previous agreement. Imran Khan and Shahbaz Sharif were the first to go to Saudi Arabia as soon as they became the Prime Minister because they both needed immediate financial support.”
“Whatever the circumstances, S.A is capable of supporting the Pak’s economy. Last year, when Pak was suffering from a severe economic crisis, the rupee was depreciating against the dollar, and its foreign exchange reserves were depleting, S.A came to its aid. In October last year, Riyadh provided 4.2 billion in aid to Islamabad. The aid was announced during a visit to Saudi Arabia by then-Prime Minister Imran Khan. This assistance was in the form of cheap loans and borrowed oil. Later, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked Saudi Arabia and said, “We thank the Crown Prince for giving 3 billion to Pakistan’s central bank and 1.2 billion for oil.” Saudi Arabia has stood by Pakistan in every difficult time. Pakistan received this loan from Saudi Arabia in December 2021.
Why pakistan is important for saudi arabia?
Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran have vied for supremacy in the Arab world. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are still not very good, and both countries are fighting proxy wars in Yemen. Analysts believe that Saudi Arabia expects military assistance from Pakistan if needed. Some analysts believe that Saudi Arabia is trying to buy the loyalty of the financially backward Pakistani government through economic packages and investment promises.
According to analysts, Saudi debt is nothing new in relations between the two countries. Islamabad has always been close to Riyadh because of Saudi money and US policy. This relationship arose when Zia-ul-Haq removed the left-leaning Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto from power in 1977. This was also done to get closer to the United States. In the 1970s, when oil prices skyrocketed, Saudi Arabia’s pockets began to fill up, and it made huge profits.
Saudi Arabia used a lot of its money to gain the support of Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia provided loans to Pakistan and helped on religious grounds. Pakistan’s mosques and madrassas also received donations from Saudi Arabia. Analysts and researchers agree that Saudi aid was delivered to Pakistan in several ways. It was not only in the form of military and civilian aid but also for religious purposes. Zia-ul-Haq’s government also allowed Saudi charities to invest in mosques. Riyadh is also accused of promoting Sunni extremism in Pakistan. It has also fueled violence against Shia Muslims.
He was also accused of carrying out similar attacks in Iran. On the other hand, the United States is a friend of Saudi Arabia, while Pakistan has also been crucial to the United States. The Iranian Revolution of February 1979 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan were two events that made Pakistan essential to US foreign policy.
The United States wanted to create a front in West Asia to reduce the influence of the Soviet Union and Iran. These circumstances made Pakistan special to the United States and brought it even closer to Saudi Arabia. However, during the rule of Imran Khan, there was an evident bitterness in the relations between the United States and Pakistan. Analysts believe that Pakistan’s new government will not hesitate to get its relations with the United States back on track.
At the same time, the gap between Riyadh and the Washginton has widened in recent years. The war in Yemen is also a source of bitterness between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Saudi Arabia feels that the United States has not helped it. Experts believe that given the current situation in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia wants to be strategically more vital. Still, it does not want to do so to anger the United States.Pakistan is a nuclear power, and Saudi Arabia does not have that power. During his visit to Riyadh as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in October 2021, Imran Khan had said that Pakistan would help Saudi Arabia if its security were ever threatened. Imran Khan had said that “whatever the position of the world, Pakistan will stand by Saudi Arabia.” It is also essential that Pakistan also trains the Saudi army.
The growing relation of Saudi Arabia and India and Pakistan’s concerns
Both countrries has not shied away from strengthening ties with India in recent years. The Saudi army chief visited India in February this year. This was the first visit of any Saudi Army Chief to India. When Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman visited India three years ago, he was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport. A few months later, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Riyadh in October 2019, the two countries established the Strategic Cooperation Council.
In December 2020, Indian Army Chief General Nirvana visited Saudi Arabia. This was the first visit of an Indian Army Chief to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is concerned about Saudi Arabia’s growing proximity to India. Despite this, relations between Riyadh and Islamabad are strong. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are still strong, but things are changing.
Pakistan’s economy is currently going through a challenging period. Pakistan’s leaders are looking to Saudi Arabia in this hour of crisis. When the Indian government removed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 and ended the special constitutional status of Kashmir, Pakistan expected Saudi Arabia to oppose it openly, but it did not happen. However, Pakistan could not openly express its displeasure with Saudi Arabia.
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