Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa emphasized the need to further enhance military-to-military cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Chief of General Staff (CGS), General Fayiadh Bin Hamed Al Rowaily at Riyadh on Wednesday. COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan visit to the Kingdom during current week. General Bajwa underscored that Pakistan-Saudi cooperation would have positive impact on peace and security in the region. The official statement of ISPR further said that the leaders of two militaries discussed the military-to-military cooperation, defense, matters of mutual interest, including regional security situation and Afghan peace process and Saudi Chief of General Staff reciprocated similar thoughts for Pakistan and Pak-Saudi friendship.
Pakistan Saudi Arabia bilateral relations witnessed some distrust during previous one and half year mostly due to Prime Minister Imran Khan announcement to attend Islamic Summit hosted by Malaysia and participated mostly by Saudi’s rivals in December 2019. Saudi Arabia took serious note of it and convoyed its annoyance to Pakistan which led to the cancellation of Prime Minister Imran Khan visit to Malaysia. The situation was later complicated by the statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi regarding Saudi’s lack of interest and inability to call OIC special meeting of Foreign Minister of member countries on Kashmir Dispute. Saudi government did not act according to Pakistan’s desire, but immediately recalled a US $1 billion loan from Pakistan and also did not renew the $ 3.2 billion oil credit facility to Pakistan after its expiry.
However, Pakistan remained steadfast in its approach toward Saudi Arabia and did not push its over decades long cordial relations with Kingdom into further dismay. COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid an official visit to mend the brotherly relations between the two countries during 2020.
However, during early days of Biden’s presidency, the ever booming US-Saudi relations hit with unprecedented blow and witnessed a historic low over the past few months. The United State under it’s overall Middle East policy review down graded it’s relations with the Kingdom. Biden halted US cooperation with Saudi Arabia in it’s military campaign against Houthis, removed the terrorist designation of two Houthis militant Commanders to engage them in negotiation, halted huge arms sale to KSA and more importantly apprised the Kingdom to deal with it on Counterpart to Counterpart level while ending Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Sulman direct contact with US Presidency. The US policy created immense challenges for the Kingdom and Saudi Arabia reviewed it’s foreign policy options. Kingdom reenergized it’s relations with Pakistan and Turkey. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia also gave signals to normalize it’s relations with Iran which could lead to settle down Yemen conflict in coming day.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had enjoyed close brotherly relationship over decades. The government and people of Pakistan attach high importance to their Relations with KSA. Pakistan had always and will be upheld the safety, Security and Sovereignty of the Saudi Arabia being Custodian of our religious holy places and main fountain of Islam. This is high time that both Countries must remove the mistrusts and forge a strong strategic partnership which can fullfil the needs of both brotherly Countries.