Ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan 'too important to fail,' former diplomats say

Special Ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan 'too important to fail,' former diplomats say
This photograph released by Pakistan's Prime Minister House (PMH) on Feb. 18, 2019 shows premier Imran Khan, second left, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, right, walk along with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second right, on his departure from the Nur Khan Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Islamabad. (Pakistan's Prime Minister House via AFP)
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Updated 18 August 2020

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan 'too important to fail,' former diplomats say

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan 'too important to fail,' former diplomats say
  • Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Riyadh on Monday for bilateral talks
  • Diplomats say Pakistani foreign minister’s recent criticism of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was 'inappropriate'

ISLAMABAD: Relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are “too important to fail,” senior diplomats told Arab News on Monday, as the Pakistan Army chief reached Riyadh after a recent diplomatic rift.
Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday in what is widely seen as an attempt to defuse tensions following Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s TV interview on Aug. 5, during which he criticized the kingdom for not having condemned India’s actions in Muslim-majority Kashmir, and said that Islamabad would use other available forums if the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) does not hold a special meeting on Kashmir soon. 

“The army chief’s visit will contribute to arriving at a further understanding between the two brotherly countries,” Pakistan’s former Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told Arab News, as he added that Saudi Arabia has been playing an important role in unifying OIC members.
“The OIC has played an important role on all Islamic issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. I have served in OIC secretariat, so I know how effective it has been in the past with the Saudi support and can be made more effective,” Bashir said.
According to Vice-Admiral (Ret.) Khan Hasham bin Saddique, former Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Qureshi’s comments were “inappropriate” and “against the normal rules of diplomacy.”

“When you are dealing with a brotherly and friendly state in public, you have to have certain respect and understanding ... The current Saudi government has a worldview which we largely share, but there are certain disagreements which they respect, and we also respect their opinion,” Saddique said, adding that in the backdrop of the minister’s remarks, the army chief’s visit will be greatly beneficial.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have historic and eternal relations. They have been mutually beneficial for both countries for the past 70 years,” he said, “We have common views about international security, counterterrorism and other areas of defense. During the last few years our defense and security collaboration has increased manifold.”
Senior Saudi diplomat Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, who served as the kingdom’s ambassador to Pakistan between 2001 and 2009, told Arab News that the Saudi-Pakistani historic partnership is “too important to fail.”
“It will blossom in future, just as it did in history,” Asseri said. “Even if any differences have emerged over this issue due to some misunderstanding, the standard practice is to resolve them mutually through a multitude or political and diplomatic channels available to both nations.”
Another former foreign secretary of Pakistan, Tehmina Janjua cautioned against unnecessary speculations about Pakistan-Saudi relations.

“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have much understanding and respect for each other. We have historically supported each other and that is the ground on which we should continue to work. We should not make any speculation and let’s see how things work out,” she said, adding the security of the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia is very close to the hearts of the people and government of Pakistan.
“This is something that we will never give up,” she said.