Pakistan, OIC and Pak Saudi Relations

By: Malik M Aslam Awan

Having enshrined two holiest places in Mecca and Madina, Saudi Arabia is the core of Muslims sentiments, all around the globe. Muslims all over the earth go to Mecca for yearly pilgrimage, to perform the most sacred rituals of their life – Hajj, and to perform Umrah all around the year. In Madina Munawara the Gumbad-e-Khizra is the dearest place where is the sacred grave of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), where Muslims go all around the year to make solace to their eyes. Most of the Muslims think that their Hajj is not complete until they see the sacred grave of their beloved Prophet. Going through the foregoing perspective one would find that the Muslims have sentimental attachment with the Saudi Arabia and they hold Saudi Arabia in the highest esteem. Since the emergence of Pakistan on world map, we have very cordial relations with Saudi Arabia and in turn Saudi Royal family always expressed the sentimental affection for Pakistan. On 5th August 2019, Modi managed to repeal the article 370 from Indian constitution to undermine the majority status of IOK Muslims, there was violent stir up in world Muslim leaders, as they apprehended that Modi’s sinister motive is to facilitate the Hindus to settle themselves in IOK and the Muslim majority would be diluted to minority status. Pakistan realizing the gravity of the situation embarked upon the task to awaken world conscience by raising voice against reckless brutalities of Indian army on besieged Kashmiris and against revoking article 370. Being heart fully aggrieved at the IOK besieged situation, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan raised voice on world forums and expected Saudi Arabia to move OIC to be the mouth piece of IOK, Muslims. Turkey and Malysia both stood firmly with Pakistan and Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister offered joint struggle against the Hindutwa. Pakistan applauded and reciprocated warmly the sentiments of both Malaysian Prime Minister and Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thanked both the leaders to lend their unconditional support on the grave issue of Kashmiris. Prime Minister Imran Khan was willing to join Kuala Lumpur conference but realizing the resentment of Saudi Arabia decided to avoid participation in the conference, which hurted both Turkey and Malaysia. After perceiving ups and downs in Pak Saudi relations Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi issued an acrimonious statement, which was noticed seriously by Saudi Arabia and the Crown prince Muhammad Bin Suleman was too aggressive over F.O. statement. Pak Saudi relations remained vacillating in sea-saw drift. To incarnate his resentment ‘so far’ Saudi Arabian Crown Prince had withdrawn one billion dollars from Pakistan and reportedly is unwilling to extend the deferred payment oil import facility. Prime Minister Imran Khan is willing to make concerted efforts with Malaysia and Turkey to give moral support to IOK Muslims and exert pressure on Modi with the help of Malysian Prime Minister And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both the leaders hold extreme importance in world affairs. Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan is, also, concerned about Saudi Arabia, being the centre of Muslim sentiments. Prime Minister has endeavoured to appease Saudi Crown Prince and adopted soft corner attitude. Saudi Crown Prince has also, reciprocated the sentiments and it is expected that Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit to Saudi Arabia will further decrease the tussled relations between the two countries and think tanks expect that the relations between both the countries would return to normalcy. On 5th August 2020 the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of grand Temple Ram Mandhir in Ayodhia on the site of most famous Babri Mosque. Everyone know best that it is not a coincidence of events, but a deliberate attempt to celebrate the first anniversary of annexation of IOK and provoke the sentiments of Kashmiri People as well as the Muslims all around the globe. Saudi Arabian oil reserves are shrinking and in this scenario Saudi Crown Prince is revisiting its internal and foreign policies and remodeling its priorities to overcome the future financial restraints. It is noteworthy that 2.2 Million Pakistanis are working in Saudia as compared to 1.5 Million Indians. Crown Prince has rebuked the Pakistan FO high-ups for expressing anguish against Saudia and signaled repatriation of 2.2 million Pakistani workers, a serious jolt to Pakistan economy. King Suleman has signed agreement worth 65 billion dollars with China in BRI framework. Meanwhile China is willing to invest dollar 400 billion in Iran. Iran has cordial relations with Pakistan and rumours that there may be major jolts in Pak-Iran relations is no way going to be a reality. Pak Turkey relations are multi-dimensional and bilateral ties between Turkey and Pakistan are going to be greater than ever. With the visit of Army Chief to Saudia the relations may return to normalcy but the question arises again, the moot point of using OIC Platform for the success of struggle of Kashmiris and mitigating their sufferings may be stirred or not. Saudi Crown Prince might have the austerity to realize the sentiments of Muslims all around the globe and if the situation still remained the same, then the scenario of past might regain momentum to return to drifting apart. Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the Turkish and Malaysian cordiality with Pakistan and unconditional stand with Kashmiri People and on the other hand Saudia, having its own liking and disliking norms, may seem reluctant to stir-up OIC to raise the voice of IOK Kashmiris, if the Saudia stance remained unchanged then, too, Pakistan cannot afford hot relations with epicenter of Muslim sentiments – Saudi Arabia.