Deteriorating Saudi image in Pakistan | Pakistan Today

Deteriorating Saudi image in Pakistan

Dragging Pakistan into more Riyal-politik

 

The Saudi government’s image is deteriorating in Pakistan. The marketing of the Saudi kings as the guardians of the two holiest Muslim shrines is no more effective. The Saudi King is increasingly being seen as an American pawn on the Middle East chess board.

Washington’s long term policy about the region is based on maintaining the status quo in the Gulf region. This suits the western oil companies and ensures a free flow of the oil to the US and other industrialised nations. The US fear that popular forces demanding replacement of hereditary rulers by elected governments could lead to unforeseeable consequence. Poplar movements in the Gulf will for instance pose a problem for Israel, the US gendarme in the region. There are fears that elected governments might create problems for oil firms. The US is scared of any radical movement in the Gulf.

The principal concern of the US in the Gulf is a “stable Middle East”. Initially the US depended entirely on Israel to keep any radical forces at bay in the region. Israel still acts a potential gendarme to rein in forces considered undesirable by Washington. Israel is however handicapped in dealing with the Gulf countries and the Muslim world at large. The Zionist regime’s occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands and its continuous persecution of the Palestinian people have made it a target of hatred in the Muslim world. There would be a wave of resentment over any interference on the part of Israel to put down by force any popular and anti US movement.

The Saudi kingdom had already been helpful to the US. It had financed the Afghan jihad against the Soviet troops and helped in the recruitment of extremist elements from all over the world

The US first opted for Iran under the Shah as an alternative. The reliance on Shah’ Iran led some to call the country as sub-imperialism. As long as the Shah was in power, the Arab kings and sheikhs did not matter to the US. The Shah treated them with disdain.

With Iran coming under the control of the anti-US ayatollahs, the Gulf rulers assumed importance for the US. The first US choice was Iraq which was used to impose a war on Iran. But with Saddam becoming a potential challenge to Israel, the man had to be removed with the help of the Gulf regimes.

This done, the next choice was Egypt under Hosni Mubarak who commanded the largest Arab army and had become an important strategic partner of Israel. After Mubarak’s fall the Saudi king offered to lead the Gulf to ensure the maintenance of Pax Americana in the region.

The Saudi kingdom had already been helpful to the US. It had financed the Afghan jihad against the Soviet troops and helped in the recruitment of extremist elements from all over the world. Among the unintended results was the attack on the twin towers and the destabilisation caused by terrorist groups in Pakistan. Meanwhile the Saudi regime had developed a convergence of interests with Israel. Both found they had a common enemy in the form of Iran.

Despite this convergence of interests, Israeli-Saudi cooperation has to remain hush-hush as long as the Zionist-Arab conflict remains unresolved. Riyadh cannot maintain the posture of the guardian of the holy shrines if it was to openly launch a bilateral peace process with Israel.

The condolence on the death of King Abdullah by President Reuven Rivlin and his predecessor Shimon Peres are indicative of a greater Israeli understanding of Saudi Arabia’s importance to “Middle East stability.” The Salafi rulers look at the regional politics from sectarian glasses. There are both domestic and regional reasons for this.

The minority Shi’a community in Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the oil rich region of the country. While its shares the numerous restrictions imposed on Saudi citizens in general, it is also denied the right to publicly practice its sectarian practices. There is thus a widespread discontent among the Shi’a population in the kingdom. Several Gulf governments share their fear of the discontented Shi’a population, particularly the Saudi kingdom’s next door neighbour Bahrain, where the Shi’a majority is persecuted by the repressive regime headed by a Sheikh belonging to the Sunni minority.

The urge to establish hegemony over the region has given birth to rivalry between the Saudi regime and Iran. Being the keeper of the holiest shrines Riyadh can do things in the Gulf that Israel cannot.

The Saudi government sees the large Shi’a minority in Pakistan also as a threat. The Saudi kingdom is also driven by an urge to proselytise. Both tendencies have added to the unpopularity of the Saudi royalty in Pakistan where it is already seen to be hand in glove with the US and Israel.

The overwhelming majority of the Pakistani Muslims practices a moderate version of Islam. Even in united India the region now comprising Pakistan never witnessed any riots on cow slaughter or Hindu festivals. This is due to the teaching of the Sufi saints who converted local communities to Islam.

Despite this convergence of interests, Israeli-Saudi cooperation has to remain hush-hush as long as the Zionist-Arab conflict remains unresolved. Riyadh cannot maintain the posture of the guardian of the holy shrines if it was to openly launch a bilateral peace process with Israel

The Saudis introduced a hard line and sect sensitive Salafi version by setting up hundreds of new mosques and seminaries where highly paid prayer leaders and seminary organisers aggressively spread the imported sect.

The hatred against the Shi’a community generated by the seminaries and mosques set up with the Gulf donations created for the first time in the history of the country armed gangs who attacked Shi’a mosques and imambargahs. Some of these later helped create gangs of sectarian killers like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Muhammad and Jundullah.

The Shi’a minority in Pakistan comprises several millions and is well entrenched in society. It is duly represented in civil society, judiciary, bureaucracy and armed forces. Pakistani voters give little importance to religion or sect while choosing their representatives.

The Saudi invasion of Yemen will not be welcomed in Pakistan. Thousands of Pakistanis are currently working in Yemen. Any loss of life as a result of the bombardment or displacement will create resentment back home.

Pakistanis will not like to be a part of any war that further strengthens sectarianism or causes friction and disunity among the people of the country. The government will have to consider the dire consequences for it if it was seen to be pushing Pakistan into a conflict being waged with questionable motives.

The people of Pakistan have yet to recover from the after effects of the Afghan “jihad” waged to please the US with Saudi funds and encouragement. The so called jihad brought into existence terrorist groups who have killed around 50 thousand Pakistanis, both civilians and soldiers.

One can understand that the PML-N leadership has special relations with the Saudi royalty. Any move to get Pakistan involved in the conflict would cause division and conflict in society, which would not bode well for the future of the government.



24 Comments

  1. Bader Al Omar said:

    Clearly, your political perspective is outdated. You are falsely suggesting that the Saudi King is increasingly seen as an American Pawn. One proof that refutes your analysis is when Mccain exposed the fact that the Saudis only informed the US of the planned attack an hour before. Anyhow, the Pakistani stance will not be forgotten in Saudi. Those who we thought to be brothers turned out to be walk outs in times of need.

    • G.A. Slam said:

      Pakistanis too cannot forget the loss of 50,000 innocent lives due to an imported Saudi ideology. Pakistan has and will defend Saudi borders but that should be it. What is Saudi Arabia’s problem with Shias anyway?

      • Bader Al Omar said:

        We have an ideology problem that we are addressing, and that should not be a reason for Pakistan's hesitant stance. Saudi ideology was never an issue when Pakistan accepted Saudi funds, free oil supplies or charity. Regarding Shia, andyone with minimum current affairs knowledge knows that Shias are happliy living in Eastern Saudi and are active participants in society and even parliament. The problem is not them, the Problem is Iranian backed elements who are pushing some to cause trouble. And remember me for this: Iran will start causing internal issues for Pakistan one day. Thats their eternal goal: a new Persian empire that spans all over the Islamic world, and they are using Shia minoroties to accomplish this. Otherwise, you won't see 10 countries participating in the campaign against Houthies. Ask your self: why would secular Turkey support Saudi in this? It only showes how out of touch the Pakistani ruling elite are.

        • sanwal said:

          Alright enough of the crap. Don't forget it is Pakistan nuclear umbrella which saves Saudi Arabia from direct military response from either Iran and Israel.

  2. Bader Al Omar said:

    We have an ideology problem that we are addressing, and that should not be a reason for Pakistan's hesitant stance. Saudi ideology was never an issue when Pakistan accepted Saudi funds, free oil supplies or charity. Regarding Shia, andyone with minimum current affaisr knowledge knows that Shias are happliy living in Eastern Saudi and are active participants in society and even parliament. The problem is not them, the Problem is Iranian backed elements who are pushing some to cause trouble. And remember me for this: Iran will start causing internal issues for Pakistan one day. Thats their eternal goal: a new Persian empire that spans all over the Islamic world, and they are using Shia minoroties to accomplish this. Otherwise, you won't see 10 countries participating in the campaign against Houthies. Ask your self: why would secular Turkey support Saudi in this? It only showes how out of touch the Pakistani ruling elite are.

    • khanman said:

      "Shias are happliy living in Eastern Saudi" is this a joke o what. I am neither a Shia nor Sunni and for sure not Wahabi. I am straight Muslim who believes in equality for all regardless of someone faith or belief. This foolishness has to stop once in for all or soon you will see your Sheikdom will fall like a house of cards.

      • Bader Al Omar said:

        Someone from a failed state that has a coup between every election is talking about my Sheikhdom falling! What a joke!

        • sanwal said:

          At least we don't jail women for driving and slit the throats for political disagreements.

          In the end Pakistan being less then 70 years old have achieved more then Saudi's flowing with oil money. Imagine for a moment without Pak Army & nuclear umbrella and house of Saud will fall like house of cards. Yup you guys have more Porsche & Lexus i will give you that.

    • Adi said:

      Why is Pakistan worried about a Persian empire… we have the nuclear bomb to kill all Persians.

    • myself said:

      Mr. Bader, you saudis are nothing but whole bunch of crooks. think 10 times before you talk anything about pakistan.. Oh I see.. you saudis are brainless which is world known so u can't think.

  3. Kayvan said:

    The correct international name isn't gulf , please use the official name Persian Gulf

      • sanwal said:

        Saudi Air force with nothing made in Saudi Arabia. Its the Saudi Riyals everybody knows that. I just can't comprehend why your forces fight for what for house of Saud? so the prince can enjoy more, unforgettably House of Saud run the Saudi Arabia like the personal estate. The change is inevitable !

      • Kayvan said:

        Mr bader , I am iranian , I belonged to an old nation , I belong to Great Persian , Today IRAN , you belonge to saudi arabia , do you know the meaning of word saudi , it's the name of a family , you live in a country that belong to a family , I suggest to you to read the history, the honors of persian, do you now that the period that named islamic golden age belong approximately 99% to persian as avicina , razi , kharazmi, aborayhan , farabi, ghotbodin shirazi , ibn haytham , and ………, I refer you to search only internet to obtain more knowlege that Iranian gave many things to arab peoples , Also most islamic sectoral were Iranian as abo hanifeh, imam hanbal , ghazali ,….. It was recently that Oil money came to arabs worlds and change them , Please read history that arab (not mostarabs as syrian , egyptian, and north african arab speaking people) lives in bedo states and desert (sahra )

  4. Tatobishi sakamoto said:

    Saudis and pakistanis governments both rubish and american agents

  5. Bader Al Omar said:

    Saudi has long favoured Pakistan over India in all aspect of bilateral ties. We thought Pakistan were our brothers. That has brought us a lot of trouble with India. With this unbelievably disappointing stance from Pakistan, it's about time to dump this corrupt failed state and look were real success lay: INDIA.

    • nouman said:

      so your thoughts that those nonbelievers really fight for u. do you really think that pakistan government is under its control
      no its under zoinist control in others words "yahuds".listen as a muslim i advice you
      "never trust nonbelievers".call us what ever u want.

    • Zahed said:

      Dear Bader, the above article and some remarks here do not represent the sentiments of the majority of Pakistani people. Most of the Pakistanis including myself have immense respect and affection for Saudi Arabia. Same is true on Govt level. They may be a bit reluctant in giving open statements firstly because of Pakistanis trapped in Yemen and secondly due to the turbulent times in the local politics here.

      Saudia has always stood by Pakistan and Pakistan will always stand by Saudi Arabia. PM Nawaz Sharif and Cnc have already said that if Saudi integrity is challenged, we will respond "Fully" .

  6. sanwal said:

    Sure go ahead, who is stopping you !

    The future would be then Pakistan Armed Forces take over only Hejaz province from you guys and leave the rest of Saudi Arabia for your enjoyment. by the way we are pretty much capable of it with the support of Turkey !

  7. Nowsherwan Chandio said:

    The writer is hell bent on suggesting that If Pakistan, keeping in view its " national interest" decides to join the fight against Houthis, the Shia community here will revolt and the flames of sectarianism will glow brighter. Historically speaking, Saudi Arab has always been on the forefront of any assistance offered to us in the event of floods, earthquakes or any other calamity.And still KSA is one of the few countries which Pakistan can count upon in case of a conflict, and we are shying away from supporting the country which always stood by us in our hard times. I say, lets support the Saudis, herein lies our national interest which must take precedence over the emotional attachment of a community within a country(read Iran) which is equally responsible for the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

  8. Kayvan said:

    Mr bader , I am iranian , I belonged to an old nation , I belong to Great Persian , Today IRAN , you belonge to saudi arabia , do you know the meaning of word saudi , it's the name of a family , you live in a country that belong to a family , I suggest to you to read the history, the honors of persian, do you now that the period that named islamic golden age belong approximately 99% to persian as avicina , razi , kharazmi, aborayhan , farabi, ghotbodin shirazi , ibn haytham , and ………, I refer you to search only internet to obtain more knowlege that Iranian gave many things to arab peoples , Also most islamic sectoral were Iranian as abo hanifeh, imam hanbal , ghazali ,….. It was recently that Oil money came to arabs worlds and change them , Please read history that arab (not mostarabs as syrian , egyptian, and north african arab speaking people) lives in bedo states and desert (sahra )

  9. aryanazlam said:

    The trouble shooters are shia in and around the world. Sunnis have no problem with saudis

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