KARACHI: A book titled Pakistan’s Relations with Saudi Arabia by former Ambassador Shahid Amin was launched at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking on the occasion, former Senator and Information Minister Javed Jabbar said the book was truly a distinguished contribution to a very limited range of literature on the subject. “What better gentleman to do this than Mr. Amin because in addition to his service to the country and to the Foreign Office, he wrote regularly and extensively, and most noble of all, he is a teacher.
âThe book is more than its prosaic title suggests. As I read it, for example the introduction, it gives details about Persia and Iran; and even in this relatively brief introduction, the author sets the stage for what is to come because no country is a cocoon.
Launch of the book on bilateral relations with the kingdom
Mr Jabbar said there are three main facets of the book that are thought-provoking. The first is that the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is inextricable. We are bound by religion, and we are also bound by region, even though we are not immediate neighbors. This inextricability is best told by Mr. Amin as how King Abdullah related to two Pakistani rulers of completely contrasting characters – Nawaz Sharif and General Musharraf. To each of them, King Abdullah gave his support, empathy, understanding and cash. âIt shows that bilateral relations are also shaped by individuals. “
The second facet, he said, is that it’s a very lopsided relationship. The author quoted a Saudi ambassador in Washington DC as saying that we are truly a part of what is happening in Pakistan – an outright admission by a diplomat. âCan you ever expect Pakistan to start intervening in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia? Out of the question.”
Mr Jabbar said the third facet is that there is ambiguity in the relationship, despite being inextricable, especially looking to the future. “How will Saudi-Pak relations evolve vis-Ã -vis Iran, India and Israel?” We know that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman are opening up to Israel. This is obviously done with the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia. Will Pakistan be forced to do what its Arab brothers will do? We do not know.
“How will the relationship with India evolve? Will Saudi Arabia ever endorse Pakistan’s extremely difficult condition of not speaking until you resume what you did on August 5, 2019? “
After mentioning the three points, he went on to describe the commonalities and contrasts of the two countries.
Former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Ishrat Hussain said he had learned a lot from the work Mr Amin was doing. He praised the effort of the institute where the launch was taking place to release the book. The second thing he emphasized in the first part of his speech was: âWe have to see relations with other countries as a reflection of our internal strength. Your foreign policy is in fact a reflection of your domestic policy. And Mr. Amin points out that when Saudi Arabia looked nothing like what it is today, Pakistan provided them with the expertise to carry out normal governance of the country.
Dr Hussain in the second half of his speech highlighted the messages from the relationship he learned from the book. The first is that in 1974 Saudi Arabia became a world power because oil prices rose. The second was that Saudi Arabia has become a regional power through the OIC, the GCC and the Islamic Development Bank. And the third, he said, was the basic theme of the book: bilateral relations. The author pointed out that despite billions of dollars in equipment and training of their personnel, Saudi Arabia is still dependent on the Pakistani military. It started in the 1960s and reached its peak in the 1980s. The Royal [Saudi] The Air Force was trained by Pakistani Air Force pilots. “Yes, we’ve seen ups and downs in the relationship, but compared to other countries, the ups have been more than the downs.”
Introducing the book, Mr. Amin said it was a project of Mr. Shahjehan Karim, the founder of IoBM.
Earlier, Talib Karim and Bashir Janmohmmad also spoke. Retired Ambassador Alam Brohi delivered the vote of thanks.
The event was organized by IOBM in collaboration with the Pakistan Council on Foreign Relations.
Posted in Dawn, le 19 September 2021