Pakistan’s obsession with Saudi Arab

There have been some news that Pakistan, among some other Muslim countries, is ready to join forces with Saudi Arab for a ground offensive in Yemen, on its request. Social media is oozing with commentary on how badly it is on Pakistan to join forces with its time-tested ‘friend’, the saviour of ‘Muslim Ummah,’ who is mostly considered a ‘trouble maker’ among its neighbouring Muslim countries.

Pakistan’s policy on this issue should have been clear from day one. Article 40 of our Constitution pretty much sets out what our strategy towards Yemen should be. It obliges Pakistan “to strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic unity and common interests”.

I am always surprised to see a large number of Pakistanis justifying every move by Saudi Arab - its extensive human rights violation, curbs on freedom of expression, obsession with beheading and flogging people, and most of all, constant conflict with its neighbouring Muslim countries. For this group of Pakistanis, the Kingdom remains one of Pakistan’s dearest friends despite its funding of Madaris that have been involved in producing terrorists in Pakistan, the problem that has crippled Pakistan to its core.

These supporter would dig out all the conspiracy theories in the world for the sake of their loyalty with Saudi Arab. The most recent example of which is social media commentary raising concerns that the Yemeni civil war is leading towards attacks on the sacred Muslim places in Saudi Arab. ‘The security of the holy places, Mecca and Medina, is the combined responsibility of all Muslims, not only ours, and it must be shared by everyone.’ Besides, it is Saudi Arab’s choice to get involved in this war, as is its support to President Ali Abdullah Saleh Government in Yemen. Houthis are as much Muslims, as Saudis are, and the sacred places in Saudi Arab, are equally revered by them.

We already stand so close to be declared as a failed state because of so many Saudi influences to transform our society into an Arab one and challenge our relatively accommodating attitude towards religion, that we have inherited being part of sub-continent and co-existing with many other faiths. The rigid Islamic norms, as strictly implemented (not practiced) by the Saudi royals, may suit their culture and may very well represent their basic understanding of religion but it harms our interests, threatening the peaceful coexistence of Pakistani Sunnis with sizable number people of other sects and minorities.

A threat to Saudi Arabia, from Iran or Yemen specifically, is not ‘a threat to Pakistan’. Why are going for trouble when we have so many of our own? So far, we have not even caught our own ‘arch-terrorist,’ Mullah Fazlullah, who hides under our nose and is at large to plan and launch more attacks.

1245 hours
Tuesday 31 March 2015

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