There are long-standing ties that easily weather the buffeting winds of current affairs, links in a chain that hold firm through the passage of time, and bonds that remain true. And such is the nature of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as witnessed earlier this week with the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the kingdom.
Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and the Pakistani premier discussed a number of issues of mutual concern including security, environment, economic stability and common threats to the long-standing friendship between the two nations, according to official statements.
During Khan’s two-day visit, Saudi Arabia announced that it was providing the government and people of Pakistan with support for some 118 humanitarian projects, providing financial assistance worth $123 million (Dh451 million) to assist programmes that ensure food security, bring better health resources to communities across Pakistan, making sure there are clean and adequate water supplies in rural areas, building better and more secure infrastructure works, and that the children and future generations of Pakistan receive full and meaningful education.
The funds will be particularly welcomed at a time when governments around the world are struggling with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, attempting to rebuild and protect communities and revive economies hit hard by the debilitating effects of Covid-19. Indeed, a significant part of the funds provided to Pakistan includes medical and public health measures that will have an immediate impact on the quality of life for tens of thousands of Pakistanis.
But more significant is that Khan’s visit to the kingdom, which came after a period of lukewarm relations between the two Muslim powerhouses, has managed to put those relations back on track, and rectify traditional regional alignment by underscoring the strength of ties that exist between the two nations — with the leaders focusing on improving and strengthening the long-standing bonds in areas such as military cooperation — vital when there are forces at work across the wider region that seek to bring terror and turmoil and unsettle the peace that all seek.
Both nations are building new economic and commercial ties, growing prosperity and bringing new trading opportunities. There are deep cultural ties and bonds of faith between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and the visit of Khan underscored that unshakeable friendship.