Does Saudi fear Pakistan-Turkey led Islamic Alliance?

Does Saudi fear Pakistan-Turkey led Islamic Alliance?N.P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is a grouping of fifty seven Muslim countries with its Head Quarter in Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, this Islamic assemblage is presumably under the tight control of the Saudi Arabian rulers more so of the Saudi crown Prince MBS. BS makes the OIC to dance to his tunes, it is talked.

The Islamic Organization unfortunately generally prefers to ignore the plight of the Muslims across the world more so of the poor Muslims languishing in the illegally India Occupied Kashmir (IIOK).

The general impression is that the OIC which is believed to be under the skintight control of the Saudi Royalties does not want to annoy the Indian establishment by taking up the plight of the Kashmiri Muslims.

This is simply absurd but yet true.

Saudis have huge investment in India as compared to Pakistan.

The Saudi rulers frankly speaking favor commercial transactions with India over the continued brutality of the Muslim population by the Indian occupying forces in the illegally occupied Kashmir.

Perhaps it is for this prime reason that the Saudi prince MBS is not allowing the Islamic congregation to take up the issue of the Kashmiri population despite of the repeated requests made by Pakistan.

To recall, the Saudis had given a more or less a muted response when Modi’s Gang of 4 led government changed the status of Kashmir last year.

In a similar political overture, the UAE too had brushed it under the carpet, saying it was India’s “internal matter”.

Both the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates’ rulers appear reluctant in honoring the Pakistani plea that the OIC meet be convened to discuss the Kashmiri issue at the earliest.

Pakistan as of now has made several requests to the Islamic Cooperation body to convene a foreign minister level meeting to discuss the predicaments of the Muslim people living in the “open air jail” which is Indian occupied Kashmir.

However, the Pakistani requests have summarily been ignored under the instructions of the Saudi rulers which is what has irritated the Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to threaten the Islamic dormant congregation wherein he recently said that, (sic), “I will have no option left other than to ask my Prime Minister Imran Khan to call for a separate meet of the Islamic countries which shall discuss the hellish lives of the Kashmiri people living under the command of the Indian occupying forces”.

FM Qureshi made this verbal challenge “to whom it concerns” while talking to a TV show in Pakistan just the other day.

To a question of the TV anchor, “if that meant a move forward, except without Saudi Arabia”, FM Qureshi said Islamabad will proceed “with or without” its oil-rich Arab backer.
Qureshi appears determined in convening this meet FM level meet on Kashmir with OIC or without.

“It’s certainly possible that Pakistan will participate in a meeting about Kashmir outside of the OIC framework,” says Rupert Stone, a Middle East analyst, adding that a forum of Muslim leaders that met in Malaysia last year can be an option, writes the TRT world in its fresh news report.

Notably, under the excessive pressure from the Saudi Prince MBS, Imran Khan had dropped his attendance from the Kuala Lumpur summit last year.
Later PM Khan reportedly apologized for having missed the meet convened by President Erdogan and PM Mahathir Mohammad.

It is this open challenge made by the foreign minister Qureshi which has apparently irked the Saudi rulers to the extent that the Muslim nation (the seat of Mecca) demanded that Pakistan pay back some billion dollars taken as loan from the Saudis last year.

Reports say that about one billion dollar has already been paid back by Pakistan as a “matter of prestige”.

The Saudi loan to Pakistan was 3.2% ‘interest’ attached with.

With Pakistan returning back the money, the Pak-Saudi ties are at the moment under tremendous strain and at a breaking point.

This does mean that the so called “solid rock brotherly ties” between the two nations was just for the public consumption only-a hollow rhetoric at its best.

It may be taken as petro-dollar arrogance.

This also means that the OIC is not going to summon any time soon the foreign ministers’ level meet to discuss, as demanded by Pakistan, the plight of the Kashmiri population living under the spell of terror being unleashed by the Indian military forces.

Now let’s discuss as to why the Saudi Royalties differ with Pakistan and thus ignore the Pakistani appeal to convene the OIC meet at the foreign ministers’ level.

The possible reasons are as follows:

The Saudi Kingdom fears that if the OIC meet is convened as per the demand of the Pakistani establishment and other Muslim countries then the gathering will for sure issue a strong statement accusing/condemning the Indian regime for having made the Kashmiri lives miserable and thus in all likelihood demand that India must abide by the United nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions for holding of a plebiscite which is to determine the fate of the Kashmiri people whether they prefer to live with India or Pakistan.

The Saudis in fact do not wish to embarrass/corner the Indian partner by allowing the OIC to convene such a meet which will pounce upon the Indian regime for the follies being committed against the Muslim population in Kashmir.

But India stands now cornered.

Though Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are Muslims nations but yet the two differ on so many political counts, such as, the Saudis would like the Pakistan government not to make intimate ties with Iran, Turkey and Qatar, for example.

Iran, in the eyes of Saudi rulers, is the number one enemy.

The Iranian thinking is also that Pakistan regime keep a comfortable distance with the Saudis but so far Iran never has told Pakistan explicitly to do so whereas the Saudis have.
Pakistan’s intimate ties with Turkey, Malaysia, Qatar and Indonesia is primarily disliked by the Saudis to the hilt because they think that Turkey and Malaysia are the two Muslim countries which have been luring Pakistan and cultivating the country against the Saudis.

The Saudis even contemplate that an alliance comprising of Pakistan-Turkey-Iran may take a formal shape any time in the near future.

The Saudis also feel threatened by the towering political height of President Erdogan and former Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan enjoys more than intimate ties with President Erdogan of Turkey and a quite confident ties with the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohammad (95).

Both Mahathir and Erdogan are the ones who have come several times to add to the strength of the Pakistani Prime Minister on the plight of the Kashmiri population living under the dictatorship of the India’s fundamentalist Hindu regime controlled by PM Modi and his Hindutva team.

The Saudis fear that Imran Khan may form yet another parallel Muslim grouping together with Turkey and Malaysia which would diminish the importance of the OIC that is under the strict supervision of the Saudis rulers.

It is this fear and anger that has compelled the Saudi rulers to ask the loan money back from Pakistan to which Pakistan reportedly has already honored.

The Saudis have also a strained relations with Qatar but Pakistan enjoys cordial ties with this small Muslim nation.

To recall, Qatar experienced recently the Saudi economic sanctions which means that Qatar may join its hands should Pakistan ask for any help including even on the issue of the atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces in the occupied Kashmir.

Doha this February had hosted the US-Taliban talks.

The Saudis would love to see the Pakistanis breaking ties with China and may also wish to press the Pakistan government to roll back the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor-CPEC mega scheme.

The Saudis wish in an oblique manner Pakistan once again joining the American camp by abandoning the Chinese support once and for all.

Perhaps the Gwadar port irks the Saudis?

But for Pakistan breaking its ties with China, Iran, Turkey and Malaysia or even Qatar, as preferred by Saudi Arabia, would be a very difficult a proposition.

Pakistan at the moment enjoys comfortable ties with the United States of America even at a time when Pakistan is equally closer to China-the rival of the USA at present.

In fact, for Pakistan it would be advisable not to berate its ties with the countries mentioned above under any pressure or circumstances. But concurrently Pakistan must devise an appropriate diplomatic formula that satisfies the “ego” of the regime in Mecca as some three million Pakistani nationals are currently working in Saudi Arabia.

It would now very much depend on the Pakistani diplomacy on how the country continues to receive the benevolence of the Saudis and concurrently keeping its time tested friendship intact with the nations primarily like Turkey and Malaysia, Indonesia and Qatar to which the Saudis visibly dislike.

However, The Saudis can’t dictate terms and conditions. It should be the individual country to decide with whom ties should be made and strengthened.

What if the Saudis are told to break ties with the United States?

It would be wrong to dictate the Saudis.

Well what is the harm if the Saudis come closer to the US or vice versa? It is in the same spirit the Saudis should honor what other nation’s desire for themselves.

Policy of coercion is inappropriate and unacceptable in the modern world. Countries are free to chart their diplomatic route and preferences and decide on how to conduct their foreign policies on their own.

The meeting of the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Pakistan with the Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa has apparently eased the strained ties, it is believed.

According to the Nation newspaper dated August 10/2020 Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) called on the General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) the other day.

Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and bilateral defense relations between the two brotherly countries were discussed during the meeting, the Nation newspaper reports.

Media reports claim that the Army Chief during the meet with the Saudi Ambassador convincingly answered to the Saudi grievances and the visiting envoy left the venue in a pleasant mood.
The Army Chief Bajwa is learnt to have assured the Saudi envoy of Pakistan’s continued support in strengthening the defense capabilities of Saudi in the days ahead.

Saudia wishes to buy some Pakistan made JF16 jets perhaps as was hinted by the Ambassador during the talk with the Army Chief.

Other sources claim that “friends of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia” both in Islamabad and Riyadh are working day in day out to bring the strained relations back to normal.

Hope that wisdom prevails both in Islamabad and Riyadh. That’s all!


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