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Was MBS’s visit a game changer for Pakistan?

February 18 , 2019

The bond between Pakistan-Saudi Arabia goes beyond investment, dollars and remittances, Mosharraf Zaidi tells Amber Shamsi


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wrapped up his two-day visit to Pakistan on Monday.

The two major takeaways for Pakistan were MBS’s order for the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistanis incarcerated in Saudi jails and the signing of memorandum of understandings worth $20 billion by the two countries.

But was the two-day visit of Crown Prince MBS a game changer for Pakistan?

Journalist and educationist Mosharraf Zaidi doesn’t think so.

Speaking to Amber Shamsi, the host of SAMAA TV’s programme Sawaal, he said relations between the two countries cannot be weighed by dollars, military troops or remittances. He explains why the two-day MBS visit was positive but not a game changer.

Related: Crown prince orders the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia

Zaidi says the basis of the relationship for Pakistanis is what the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah represent. This spiritual and religious relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the same for the people of Pakistan and the government. In the last 15 years, Saudi Arabia may not have understood Pakistan’s problems properly, says Zaidi. But these ups and downs are not part of the conversation for Zaidi.

He believes we need to look at why this decades-old bond, and particularly the MBS visit, is historic.

In an article recently published by the Arab News, Zaidi had written, “The [Saudi-Pakistan] relationship is not an exchange, it is a bond.”

Zaidi said the two countries don’t need to invest in ties because of their bond. He gives examples of why this relationship is not an exchange, but a bond.

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