Is Pakistan a burden or a strength for Saudi Arabia? – न्यूज़लीड India

Is Pakistan a burden or a strength for Saudi Arabia?

Is Pakistan a burden or a strength for Saudi Arabia?


Every day Pakistan stands on the road due to its plight, why does Saudi Arabia, which is counted among the richest countries of the world, give it so much attention. There is also a concern of Saudi, which was given by Pakistan.

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By BBC News Hindi

Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2023, 14:28 [IST]

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

The economic crisis in Pakistan has deepened to such an extent that people are fighting among themselves on the streets for flour.

The coffers of Pakistan are empty and the government there is somehow trying to save the country from default.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman has ordered his financial institutions to study to increase investment and loans in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia is counted among the rich countries of the world, but why does it repeatedly come forward to help Pakistan, a poor and troubled country?

To answer this question, one has to go into the past.

In 1998, just after Pakistan’s nuclear test, the then Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud reached Islamabad.

He went to Pakistan’s nuclear and missile bases. Then the President of America was Bill Clinton and his ears were raised by this tour.

A senior Clinton administration official told the New York Times then that the visit was troubling.

It was the first time that a foreigner was taken to Pakistan at the top secret hideout.

Even America was not clear then why the Saudi minister had gone to Kahuta, Pakistan’s Uranium Enrichment Center and Ghori missile base.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor Pakistan had told its purpose.

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

Prince Sultan was the brother of the then King of Saudi Arabia. Prince Sultan used to run in the purchase of weapons of Saudi Arabia.

America was afraid that through Pakistan nuclear arms race might not take place in the Middle East.

This visit to Saudi Arabia was also linked to its desire for nuclear weapons.

According to a Brookings report, “Saudi Arabia’s relation with Pakistan’s nuclear program dates back to the time of Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto. In the early 1970s, Zulfikar Bhutto wanted financial help from Saudi Arabia for the nuclear program.

The then King Faisal of Saudi Arabia had provided financial help for Pakistan’s nuclear program on the promise that he would also keep Saudi safe from these weapons. Bhutto had immediately renamed a city Faisalabad to repay this debt.

When Pakistan acquired the first nuclear weapon in 1998, Saudi Arabia had said that Pakistan is the first Islamic country in the world to become a nuclear power.

Prince Sultan’s visit received a lot of attention in the press of both Saudi and Pakistan.

According to the Pakistani press, Prince Sultan was accompanied by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and the famous nuclear scientist AQ Khan at the Uranium Enrichment Center.

It was then being published in the Pakistani press that Saudi Arabia is helping Pakistan in the production of weapons.

Then Michael Crepon, president of the Henry L. Stimson Center for the Study of Security Affairs, told the New York Times, “Saudi Arabia is not limited to giving money to Pakistan, but its interest is further.” Prince Sultan’s visit to Pakistan’s uranium enrichment center is showing his interest.

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

Regarding the friendship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, in 2008, Bruce Riddle, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, wrote that since the 1960s, Pakistan had not received as much aid from Saudi Arabia outside the Arab world.

For example, in May 1998, when Pakistan was deciding whether to respond to India’s five nuclear tests, Saudi Arabia promised Pakistan 50,000 barrels of oil per day for free.

This helped Pakistan a lot in fighting the economic sanctions of western countries after the nuclear test.

It is said that this promise of Saudi Arabia gave courage to the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif to take the decision of nuclear test.

Bruce Riddle has written that after Pakistan’s nuclear test, Saudi Arabia had helped a lot in weakening the sanctions of the US and the European Union.

Large-scale financial help came from the Saudi royal family and religious institutions there. Funds to the madrassas of Pakistan still come from Saudi Arabia.

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Pakistan has been providing military aid to Saudi Arabia for decades.

According to a Brookings report, it was with the help of Pakistan that Saudi Arabia prepared the Royal Saudi Air Force and the pilots of its first jet fighters in the 1960s.

In 1969, Pakistani Air Force pilots flew Royal Saudi Air Force jets to repel Yemeni incursions along the southern border of Saudi Arabia.

According to a Washington Post report, in the 1970s and 1980s, up to 15,000 Pakistani soldiers went to Saudi Arabia and some of them became part of the Combat Force on the Israeli-Jordan-Saudi border. The close military relationship between Pakistan and Saudi has never stopped.

In the 1980s, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had prepared Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet army in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISAE has also been working closely with Saudi Arabia for a long time. Bruce has written that this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan continued even in the 1990s when both countries supported the Taliban.

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

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Saudi Arabia Pakistan

Prince Turki bin Sultan, the former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, once said, “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia probably have the closest relationship in the whole world.”

Critics of Pakistan often say that Saudi Arabia’s money has had a profound impact on Pakistan’s politics and society.

It is said that Saudi Arabia has greatly strengthened the roots of Wahhabi conservatism through Pakistani madrassas.

Saudi Arabia is also considered to have played an important role in the rise of political Islam in Pakistan.

In the 1960s, Pakistan helped in training soldiers of many Arab countries.

Former President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq even commanded a unit of soldiers in Jordan. Zia ul Haq went to Jordan in 1967 and stayed there for three years.

According to The Diplomat’s report, Pakistani engineers fortified Saudi Arabia’s southern border to counter the Houthi rebels. Thousands of Pakistani soldiers were in Saudi Arabia before the Gulf War.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest arms importer. Thousands of Pakistanis also work in the security department of Bahrain, a Sunni monarchy.

Professor Sanjay Kumar Bhardwaj at the Center for South Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University says, “Pakistan was formed in the name of Islam and Pakistan is the only nuclear power country among Islamic countries.

Saudi Arabia is most important from the point of view of Islam and the area in which it is located, there are many threats regarding its security. In such a situation, Pakistan becomes very important for Saudi Arabia.

Professor Sanjay Bhardwaj says, “Look at it in another way, Pakistan is also a burden for Saudi Arabia. Bilateral trade between the two countries is barely two billion dollars while Saudi is India’s fourth largest trade partner. Right now the trade of Saudi and India is 44 billion dollars.

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil supplier country to India. India is a very important country in terms of Saudi’s economy while Pakistan is zero in this matter. Because of this, Saudi Arabia now remains very soft towards India regarding Kashmir. Pakistan’s confusion is clearly visible in this matter.

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Saudi Arabia also has some reservations about Pakistan. In April 2015, Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously to remain neutral in the war between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia sought Pakistan’s help in fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. There was a debate on this for five days in the Parliament of Pakistan.

The current Defense Minister of Pakistan, Khwaja Mohammad Asif was also the Defense Minister in 2015.

He had then said about Pakistan’s decision in Yemen, “Saudi Arabia had requested Pakistan to send troops, ships and fighter aircraft. The request was to fight the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

But the leaders of many political parties of Pakistan did not support this request of Saudi. These leaders say that the Yemen crisis is not a threat to Saudi Arabia at the moment.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, there was no need to go to the Parliament on the demand of Saudi Arabia because only the Prime Minister has the authority to give orders to the army of the country. But the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to take the matter to Parliament.

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Pakistan

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Pakistan

Then the Prime Minister was Nawaz Sharif and the members of his party Muslim League (Nawaz) voted in favor of Saudi in the Parliament.

Then it was said that Nawaz Sharif wanted to send a message to Saudi Arabia that his party is in favor of sending troops but the opposition is not willing.

The Sharif family has a personal relationship with Saudi Arabia. After the military coup in Pakistan in the 1990s, Sharif took refuge in Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had returned from Islamabad two days before Pakistan refused to send army to Saudi Arabia.

This decision of Pakistan was also seen as balancing Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran had asked Pakistan to remain neutral in the Yemen issue.

For Saudi Arabia, this decision of Pakistan was no less than a shock. It is said that after 2015, Saudi Arabia started dealing directly with Pakistan’s military rather than the political leadership.

Now Saudi Arabia has announced the help to Pakistan after the meeting of Pakistan’s Army Chief General Asim Munir with the Crown Prince.

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