According to a report in Middle East Monitor, Saudi Arabia had ended a loan and oil supply to Pakistan due to the nation’s criticism of OIC, which Islamabad believed wasn’t doing enough to pressure India on Kashmir.
Last week Pakistan returned a Saudi loan of $ 1 billion (Rs 7,464 crore) which was part of a $ 6.2 billion package announced by Saudi Arabia in November 2019.
Pakistan’s criticism of Saudi Arabia was described by one astute social media commentator as that of the tail trying to wag the dog.
Matters reportedly came to head when Riyadh turned down Islamabad’s request to convene a special meeting of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers.
Last week, Pakistani news channel ARY had Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying: “I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation.”
He had even warned Saudi Arabia and said: “If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”
He had added: “We have our own sensitivities. You have to realise this. Gulf countries should understand this.”
The Foreign Minister went on to state: “It’s right, I’m taking a position despite our good ties with Saudi Arabia…We cannot stay silent anymore on the sufferings of the Kashmiris.”
Pakistan eventually paid off the loan with a little help from its new Big Brother China, which perhaps explains why Pakistan’s sympathies for Muslim Kashmiris doesn’t extend to Uighurs in China.
Interestingly, Pakistan has also not received oil on the deferred payments since May.
Muhammad Bin Salman had actually signed MoUs worth $20 billion during his visit to Pakistan in 2019 and this continued criticism could make China Pakistan’s only friend.
Earlier, Imran Khan had said: “The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst (us). We cannot even come together as a whole on the OIC meeting on Kashmir.”
As veteran journalist Jyoti Malhotra notes in her Print column: “In the ‘dangal’ or contest of Big Brotherhood, the Chinese have certainly trumped the Saudis this week. Remember, though, that Saudi, Emirati and increasingly the OIC’s disinterest in Pakistan is as much a victory of the Modi government’s outreach to the Islamic Ummah – Sushma Swaraj’s invitation to the OIC foreign minister’s meeting in UAE last year and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to India are proof.
For the time being at least, neither the OIC, the UAE or the Saudis are paying serious attention to Pakistan’s tantrums on Jammu & Kashmir – as recently as 1996, the last three were the only countries in the world to have recognised the Taliban when it took power in Afghanistan.”