Saudi Arabia is the third largest state in Middle East, biggest oil supplier in the world, extremely close and loyal ally of USA, staunch rival of Iran and finally supposedly time tested friend of Pakistan.
Saudis have been playing very active role in Pakistan from the day they recognized her as an independent Islamic state in 1947. From acquiring of nuclear technology in Bhutto era (funding) to the testing of nuclear warheads in Nawaz Sharif era (they promised to support Pakistan’s economy after the tests) Saudis proved their loyalty. On the other hand Pakistan also tried her level best in strengthening the bilateral relations of the two states. From flying of Saudi aircraft in 1969 to the episode of seizure of Holy Kaba, Pakistan also showed their metal.
After USA, undoubtedly Saudi Arabia is the major socially, religiously and politically contributing factor in Pakistan either positively or negatively. Though nowadays her negative factors are more clearly showing their effects on Pakistani society. Even Wiki leaks gave evidence of this symbiotic relationship, when Saudi Ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, was showing off in front of USA Ambassador,
“We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.”
Pakistan is paying a very heavy price for this relationship in the form of ongoing sectarianism, extremism, Talibanization of Pakistan and constant political chaos as they keep on supporting corrupt politicians of the state.
Throughout history Saudi Arabia’s main focus in their foreign policy was on the spread of Wahabism and containing of influence of Iran in Muslim world. They make huge donations from USA to developing states around the globe with one condition that they will be allowed to send their preachers and scholars to preach their Wahabist ideology. They provide funds for building mosques and research centers. Wahabis are devoted believers of force or extremism in Islam.
Madrassa system of Pakistan based on Wahabist ideology was completely funded by the Saudis. Young boys were taught glorified image of jihad and even were physically trained for the future purpose of jihad. Taliban were the direct outcome of this Madrassa system. They support and propagate Terrorism which is against the teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH) who actually taught, peace and harmony.
Saudi Arabia funds extremist activities all around the globe especially Taliban in Pakistan. The former Director of CIA James Woolsey described Saudi Arabian Wahabism as “the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing.” Until recently they themselves had to suffer extremist activities in their own state, they pulled back a bit but still all the global Saudi charities, which are headed by the Saudi cabinet ministers, are still actively fanning radicalism.
Pakistan is a victim of proxy war of two Middle Eastern states. As Iran supporting the Shiite Muslims of Pakistan and Extremist groups of Sunnis, being supported by Saudis, gave rise to the sectarianism in Pakistan, resulting in total wipe out of the highly skilled and educated lot of Pakistan, like doctors, scholars and even high profile political figures. This proxy war especially accelerated after the Iranian revolution, Saudis wanted to contain their influence in Middle East. During 80s and 90s they funded many extremist organizations for instance Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) which started propagating against the shiites in Pakistan. In response Iran funded Tehreek-e-Fiq-e-Jafariya.
This interference not only paved the way for many more coming future extremist cells and groups but also gave rise to the Taliban regime (current disastrous turmoil of the state). That ongoing war between both states neither affected Iran nor Saudi Arabia but it destroyed the peace and social infrastructure of Pakistan. Saudis are even not satisfied with President Zardari as he wants to maintain good relations with Iran. Saudis are scared of Pakistan, Iran and Iraq (under Shia authority) triangle. Saudis also called him “rotten head.” Shows the state of mind of the Saudi regime.
Saudi Arabia is playing active role in Pakistani politics as well.One of its main examples was bailing out of Nawaz Sharif from the hands of Musharaf. He and his family was not even given political asylum but also provided with business license, main reason behind the Sharif family’s complete allegiance to Saudi Arabia, they not only saved his neck but his economic interests are also tied to the Saudis. Now Sharif brothers keep their eyes closed over the jihadi activities and invisibly support them.
Saudi Arabia, constantly supports the corrupt and dishonest politicians of Pakistan. Whenever there is a deadlock, case is referred to Saudis, as ultimate authority. Saudis are enjoying the status of puppet masters causing worst political turmoil resulting Pakistan to lose its prestige and honor in international platforms. Ironically, they themselves also do not trust these politicians, during flood crisis, they gave aid to the flood victims in the form of food and other daily use articles instead of liquid money, even this was made possible when General Kiyani himself went to Saudi Arabia and gave his guarantee.
Recently, it’s being speculated that being a close ally of USA Saudi Arabia played the role of mediator in deal between USA and the families of the victims of Raymond Davis case, though Saudia denied it but PM Gilani gave the hint of Saudis’ involvement. Again this was a direct hit on the sovereignty of the state. Though this was the case of Punjab government, Shabaz Sharif referred it to the federal authority and they to Supreme Court and one day before his release Nawaz Sharif suddenly left for UK in pretext of bad health conditions. Ironic still Saudis deny their involvement.
This over all analysis of the current relation shows that now Saudis are interfering way too much, first it was only being run by USA now Saudis are also deeply involved. Saudis’ positive contribution cannot be neglected or forgotten but we need some space. We need some air to breath. This constant involvement is causing Saudi Arabia to lose her good reputation in Pakistan. People know how deep USA and Saudi relations go and most of the time it is speaking the language of USA on Pakistan’s part.