Pakistan Saudi Arabia Bilateral Relations: A Research Study

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

In modern political arena and human civilization evolution, strong and trustworthy bilateral relations always brighten the chances of trade and commerce, foreign direct investments and strengthen cultural tries. It also accelerates joint ventures and spirits of collaboration in the diversified fields of mutual interest. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are more than strategic partners and more than brothers as said by King Abdul Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Since King Abdulaziz Al-Saud established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, its transformation has been tremendous. The successive wise leadership has turned itself country from a desert nation to a modern, dynamic state and one of the major players on the international stage. Its socio-economic revolution is unprecedented.

Saudi Arabia was one of those first countries which recognised Pakistan after independence 1947. Whether it was wars of 1965, 1971 or sanctions after nuclear tests, Saudi Arabia came forward and helped Pakistan.

Ever since the establishment of diplomatic ties, both the countries have enjoyed most cordial relations which are not confined to political, economic, commercial, security and religious matters. Common faith and culture has further enhanced by close geographical proximity, historic trade ties, religious association and the economic facilitation. Both countries have developed trust-worthy relations based on mutual respect. More than 1.5 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, both countries have exchanged high-level delegations and developed plans to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, education, real estate, tourism, information technology, communications and agriculture.

The ongoing different spells of high official visits of both the countries reflect the warmth, trust and depth of their bilateral relations. Saudi Arabia has been one of the key elements of our foreign policy.

Saudi Leadership Visits to Pakistan Year
King Saud 1954
King Faisal 1966 & 1974
King Khalid 1976
King Fahd as Crown Prince 1980
King Abdullah as Crown Prince 1984, 1997, 1998, 2003
Source: Different Daily Newspapers

The above table clearly shows the pace and strength of bilateral relations between the two countries which is getting stronger and stronger by each passing day. Most recently, Minister for Information and Culture of Saudi Arabia Abdul Aziz Bin Mohayyuddin Khoja visited Pakistan and reaffirmed that the friendship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was not only vital for both Muslim states but also the whole Muslim Ummah. The government of Saudi Arabia has started Urdu news bulletin on state-run TV he added.

King-Abdullah-bin-Abdul-al-Saud

President and Prime Ministers of Pakistan have also visited Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions since 1947. It has now got momentum. Most recently, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari visited Saudi Arabia and met with the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and thoroughly discussed on variety of bilateral and regional issues. A broad consensus was reached on enhancing Pakistan-Saudi Arabia partnership based on comprehensive cooperation. Both sides expressed the wish to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and work closely to safeguard the stability and peace in the region and Islamic world.

King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz reaffirmed “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are one country; they are more than friends and more than brothers. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz reaffirmed its commitment towards Pakistan’s cause and assured that it will continue its cooperation and assistance to Pakistan in all the fields including enhance bilateral trade.

Pakistan’s Priorities Details
Trade & Commerce Early finalization of Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between both the countries.
Investments (FDI & FPI) Due to budgetary deficits and energy crisis, Pakistan immediately needs inflows of FDIs in the country.
Banking & Finances Greater mutual cooperation in the fields of banking and finance
Defence Greater military cooperation, training, and collaboration
Exports Larger inflows of commodities and services
Energy Cooperation Close cooperation in energy mix especially, construction of Bhasha Diamir Dam
Human Resources Greater exports of manpower to Saudi Arabia
Source: Study of different joint statements, MOUs and Agreements

It seems that the recent regional geo-political and geo-strategic developments have played important role bringing both the countries closer than they were about a year ago. Saudi Arabia recently recruited 1,000 doctors and medical specialists from Islamabad and Lahore who will be assigned in various hospitals in the Kingdom

Mutual Understanding on Different Sensitive Issues

Pakistan Saudi Arabia
Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and the problems faced by the Muslim Ummah as well as in matters relating to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Kashmir, Afghanistan, terrorism, Nuclear program and generous socio-economic assistance.
Source: Different journals and daily newspapers

The above table reaffirms that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy trustworthy bilateral relations which ranges from politics to economics and human security to well fare of Muslim Ummah at large.

Information and Culture Minister Abdul Aziz-Bin Mohayyuddin Khoja

Diplomatic Ties different Shades: A Historic Perspective

Diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan has been strong, stable and sustainable since 1947. Saudi Arabia has been generous to Pakistan in many fields since 1947. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are leading members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Saudi Arabia supported Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir and encouraged both the countries to start Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). It openly opposed partition of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. Both the countries were at same wave-length at the time of Afghan War and remained closed allies fighting against communism during 1980s. During the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, Pakistan on request, sent troops to protect the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Both the countries played important role in recognition of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Pakistan offered its political, moral and diplomatic support on many regional Islamic and international issues.

Saudi Arabia came to our rescue even in May 1998 (series of nuclear explosions/tests) and promised to supply 50,000 barrels per day of free oil to help Pakistan cope with likely economic sanctions in the aftermath.

Humanitarian Assistance

Humanitarian assistance has been one of the key pillars of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy. Saudi Arabia extended its humanitarian assistance on many times of natural calamities in the country. Saudi Arabia donated SR245 billion between 1973 and 1993, which equals 5.5 percent of its average annual production during that period.

Series of Floods and Remarkable Services

In the times of natural crisis, Saudi Arabia stood first and donated generously. Previously, Saudi Arabia arranged an air bridge under the directions of the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques and transported relief goods without any hindrance. Moreover, a Saudi rescue and search team comprised of more than 200 specialized officials were also sent to these badly affected areas along with huge machinery and sophisticated tools to help the struggling and stranded people. The government of Saudi Arabia initiated a public campaign to raise funds in the Kingdom to help the victims of floods in different parts of Pakistan. It established a mobile field hospital which coordinated different medical camps for providing the basic health care facilities to these affected people. Many Saudi volunteers wholeheartedly participated in distribution of relief goods among the victims, and many doctors volunteered to help them.
Pak-Saudi Trade Volumes

Saudi Arabia is among the 15 export partners of Pakistan and bilateral trade volume has gone above US$ 4 billion per annum and which would be further increased in the days to come. There are lots of business delegations from Pakistan are going to visit Saudi Arabia in the near future and hopefully, chances are brighter for the further enhancement of trade volumes afterwards.
(US$ million)
Years Exports from Pakistan Saudi Imports to Pakistan
1999-2000 215 923
2000-2001 273 1253
2001-2002 330 1202
2002-2003 477 1303
2003-2004 349 1779
2004-2005 353 2478
2005-2006 330 2994
Source: Investment Board, Ministry of Finance

It is hoped that after singing of FTA the flows of bilateral trade would be further increased in the days to come.

Major Items of Exports from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia (2003-2008)

The given below table clearly shows that Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia has been narrowed which needs to be diversified in order to increase the inflows of exports. Moreover, joint ventures would also increase volumes of trade between the two countries in the days to come. Details are given below as: (US$ million)
Commodities 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Articles of apparel/cloths 134.314 63.744 74.172 49.046 42.789
Made up textiles articles, rags etc. 156.93 92.932 57.697 46.403 40.760
Rice 33.789 31.321 44.798 42.406 37.000
Cotton yarn & woven fabrics 24.958 28.640 41.661 31.493 34.690
Foot wear 9.194 11.736 22.046 24.081 21.145
Source: Investment Board & Ministry of Finance

Major Items of Imports from Saudi Arabia (2003-2008)

(US$ million)
Commodities 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Petroleum & Oil 1080.100 1455.158 1982.096 2481.922 2891.151
Organic Chemical 94.391 159.444 215.806 165.116 192.550
Plastic & Articles 79.817 83.742 143.362 172.937 201.500
Fertilizers – 7.268 23.080 19.325 22.530
Leather & Leather Manufactures 3.624 6.710 18.355 16.420 19.148
Source: WTO, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The above table clearly indicates that our heavily dependence on oil’s imports creates not so good effects on our budget and exports-imports balance.

Pakistan

Export-to-Saudi Arabia Imports-from Saudi Arabia
Rice, ready made garments, cotton fabrics, synthetic fabrics, made up textiles, tents and canvas, fruits and vegetables, spices, towels, carpets and rugs, sports goods, fish and fish preparations, handicrafts, leather manufactures and printed matters. Crude petroleum, polythene, plastic moulding powder, aluminum waste, urea, dates, copper wire and rods, ships and boats, ether and its derivatives, chemicals machines, paper waste, parts of aircraft and sulphur.
Source: Different Issues of Chambers of Commerce, and Industry.

According to Federal Ministry of trade and investment (March 2012), bilateral trade between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has increased from 2830 million dollars to 4974 million dollars from 2004-5 to 2010-11. During 2010-11 Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia were worth 427.5 million dollars while our imports for the same period were of 4546.6 million dollars. Moreover, major export items to Saudi Arabia include meat & meat preparations, Rice (all sorts), Fruits & Fruit preparations, spices, cotton & synthetic fabrics. While major Imports from Saudi Arabia are Petroleum, Ores and Concec of iron, animal oil & fats, fixed vegetable oil & fats, fertilizer manufactured chemical material & product, floor coverings, carpets & rugs etc.
Saudi’s Investments (FDIs), (2000-2006) (US$ million)
Years Amount
2000-2001 0.58
2001-2002 1.30
2002-2003 43.5
2003-2004 7.2
2004-2005 18.4
2005-2006 272
Source: Investment Board, Ministry of Finance

The above given table shows that foreign direct investments of Saudi Arabia have not been steady because of many local reasons.

Sectors/Fields Details
Infrastructure Key production industries situated in Pakistan
Energy Pipri Thermal Power Project, Tarbela Dam repairs
Sea Port Port Qasim
Fertilizer Mirpur Mathelo plant
Source: Different Research Studies and Journals

Social Development/Assistance/Projects

Saudi Arabia has always been keen interested in the social and economical development of Pakistan and it provided financial assistance during the earthquake of 2005, and floods of 2010 and 2011. It also pledged $700 million for Pakistan in the Tokyo Donors.

The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan is passionately facilitating many ongoing mega projects of education, health, housing, infrastructure, clean drinking water and electrification in different parts of the country. Most recently, both countries inked two loan agreements amounting to $172 million for import of urea fertilizer $100 million and initiating development projects $72 million. Both loans would have multiplier effects on the socio-economic conditions of these social economic sectors. It would reduce high ratios of poverty. It would generate more employment in these troubled areas. It would support business activities in these areas and improve their living standards by providing better education, health and housing facilities. By signing of the two agreements, Saudi Arabia has become the only country that has fully disbursed the entire amount of $700 million committed at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) forum two years ago.

Agriculture Development

Saudi Arabia also pledged an additional $400 million at the Pakistan Development Forum (PDF). The $100 million credit for urea fertilizer import was part of that commitment while for remaining $300 million Pakistan has selected some social projects, which have been sent to Saudi Arabia for assessment. Moreover, to fulfill the requirements of agriculture, Saudi Arabia has provided Urea loan which is for a short period at an interest rate of London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) plus 1.25 per cent. Under the agreed loan/program, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) will import urea from Saudi Arabia and provide the fertilizer to National Fertiliser Marketing Limited (NFML) for its fair distribution. It also shows strong commitment of the Saudi Arabian government towards supporting the Pakistan government in promoting the well-being and economic prosperity of its people. It is hoped that urea fertilizer credit facility ($100 million) would benefit the agricultural sector of Pakistan, boost food production and maximise farmer income with the use of qualitative Urea fertilizer.

Reconstruction Activities

The second loan of $72 million would be spent for reconstruction in the Malakand Division, Bajaur Agency and North and South Waziristan. In this connection, the reconstruction activity, including repair of roads, would contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and enhance educational and health standards for the people of the region. Rehabilitation work includes construction of 283 KMS of major roads and 887 KMS of other roads along with 43 bridges and 78 culverts.

The last but not the least, the loan will also be used for construction of main and branch canals with flood protection work, water storage, supply of lift pumps, construction of educational facilities in South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajaur and rehabilitation of power network and transmission lines.

Cultural and Commercial Ties

Right from the beginning, Saudi Arabia has been providing generous religious and educational aid to Pakistan, being a major contributor to the construction of mosques and religious schools across Pakistan. The Faisal Mosque (dedicated to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia) in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan was the prime example of Pak-Saudi cultural affinity. The major Pakistani city of former Lyallpur was also renamed Faisalabad in honour of King Faisal in 1977. Saudi Arabia remains a major destination for immigration amongst Pakistanis, the number of whom living in Saudi Arabia reached to 1.5 million.

Military Cooperation

Chief of Army Staff COAS General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani met with Deputy Minister of Interior Prince Mohammed bin Naif

Since form the beginning, both the countries maintain close military ties. The government of Pakistan provided extensive support, arms and training to the military of Saudi Arabia. Pilots of the Pakistan Air Force flew aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force to deter a raid from South Yemen in 1969. In the 1970s and 1980s, approximately 15,000 Pakistani soldiers were stood tall in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia showed great interests to purchase of Pakistani ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have information mechanism on different subject relating to defense production, security apparatus and above all martial training etc.

Meaningful Engagements

Most recently, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani visited Saudi Arabia and met with Deputy Minister of Interior Prince Mohammed bin Naif held talks with chief of Pakistan’s army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and discussed matters regarding cooperation in the areas of counter terrorism, extremism and organized crime in Riyadh.

During the meaningful engagements, both countries expressed their desire to further broaden cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism bilaterally as well as globally. Prince Mohammad appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan army and those on deputation serving in the Kingdom for their contributions in promoting Saudi-Pak defense ties. The prince also appreciated the efforts of Pakistan toward the capacity building of Saudi security forces.

General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani also met the Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz and Commander Royal Land Forces General Khalid bin Bandr Bin Abdul Aziz. They thoroughly, discussed on matter relating to close collaboration between the armed forces of two countries. Moreover, professional interests and regional security issues were also discussed.
Both sides had identified certain specific areas of training and professional development for their armed forces. It was agreed that “a comprehensive training program for defense personnel and a plan to hold more joint defense exercises will form the essential components of an expanded joint defense initiative to be promoted by Riyadh and Islamabad”.

The COAS expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government and people for exemplary support extended to Pakistan at all times. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintain and reinforce their relationship for peace and security in the region.

Pak- Saudi Joint Military Exercises AL-Samsaam-IV

The brotherly ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia provide a model for other nations to emulate. Pakistan being the fifth largest army of the world has developed strategic ties with Saudi Arabia. Joint military exercises between armies of two brotherly countries aim to enhance existing bilateral relations and to benefit from each other’s experience in counter terrorism operations. Pakistan-Saudi Arabia alliance would guarantee larger regional reconciliation and stronger ties of survival, production, socio-economic prosperity and above all security.
Armed forces of both the countries had joint military exercises named Al-Samsaam-IV in Pakistan. Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said that these drills would boost bilateral strategic ties between the two countries. He praised Saudi forces for their bravery, valor and marital skills.

Regional Geo-political and Geo-Strategic Benefits

The timing of joint military exercise was significance and had far reaching geo-political and geo-strategic ramifications in the region and around the global especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Middle East region. Saudi Arabia has played an important role to seek peace and harmony in our region especially in Afghanistan. It would bring peace in Afghanistan. It is hoped that the menace of terrorism, horrendous activities of human & drugs trafficking, hideous piracy operations would be tackled in a better way by holding Pak-Saudi joint military exercises.
Increase in Operational and Tactical War Game Capabilities
Saudi Arabia has always been a Pakistan’s special friend and armies of both countries maintain close ties with each other. The recently held joint military exercises further enhanced the battle competence, of participating troops against intimidation operations. Moreover, the successful completion of Pak-Saudi joint military exercises provided an opportunity to both troops to benefit from each other’s training experiences. During exercises, military personnel troops from both the armies successfully attacked the dummy hide-outs of the terrorists. The drill was part of three week joint military exercises that aim at sharing information through training. The exercises enhanced the combat efficiency, of participating troops against terrorism operations.
After the joint military exercises, it is hoped that their operational and tactical war game capabilities have been increased. Their martial preparedness have been sharpened and made perfect. The war strategy has been reassessed and ready to tackle all the possible emerging threats of survival. The recently held joint military exercises further enhanced working relations between the two armies. The session was also included collective training at the unit and brigade level to observe drills and procedures in low intensity conflict operations.

Saudi’s Strong Commitment

On behalf of Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs, Prince Lt. Gen. Khaled Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz, Commander of the Saudi Royal Land Forces, patronized the Saudi-Pakistani joint military exercise “Al-Samsaam IV” held in Jhelum.
Prince Lt Gen. Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud highly appreciated the standard and arrangements of joint military exercises and said that these kinds of joint venture will enhance the combat preparedness of the troops of both the countries. He strongly emphasized that Saudi Arabia has strong relations with Pakistan and joint exercise has provided an opportunity to the participating troops to get benefit from each other experience. He said this extraordinary exercise would help Saudi officers and soldiers develop skills in their fight against terrorism and in fighting in rugged terrain. He said the Kingdom will leave no stone unturned in combating the menace of terrorism. He said that Saudi soldier achieved several successes on the ground and done a good job in defending the homeland and this exercise would further enhanced their professional skills.

Historical Perspectives

A joint military exercise also called war game in modern era of strategic studies is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. Exercises in the 20th century have often been identified by a unique codename in the same manner as military operations. The recently held Pak-Saudi Arabia joint military exercises 2011 covered all possible aspects of war game in modern times.

Pak-Saudi Arabia Joint Military Exercises

The leaders of both the countries decided to strengthen bilateral military cooperation and arrange joint military exercises on regular basis. Pakistan Army and Saudi Land Forces Joint Exercises Al Samsaam series have been conducted biennial basis since 2004.
Series of Joint Military Exercises Details
Al-Samsaam-I Pakistan, 2004
Al-Samsaam-II Pakistan, 2006
Al-Samsaam-III Saudi Arabia, 2009
Al-Samsaam-IV Pakistan, 2011
Source: ISPR

During the exercise, one battalion each from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia participated in the exercise. During the exercises personnel of both the armies rigorously indulged in multidimensional drills and executed plans to storm the mountain sites and cleared of terrorists with the participation of officers and soldiers in this exercise through the battalions involved where backed by the storm and clean these sites aircraft F7 and helicopters cobra by landing perpendicular to the officers and individuals at the sites. PAF F-7 aircraft, Cobra Gunship Helicopters and MI-17 Helicopters were also used during the joint military exercises. The troops participated in various drills including para-jumping.
In the near past senior Naval officials visited Saudi Arabia for goodwill-cum-training mission (PNS Babur along with PNS SV Behr Paima and PNS/Sub Marine Hamza). Both navies highlighted the professional relations and stressed that all top leadership of the Royal Navy, including commander Royal Navy, received training in Pakistan.
Vice Admiral Dakheel Allah Bin Ahmed Al Waqdani, Commander, Royal Saudi Naval Forces visited Pakistan and called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr. The Saudi Commander was accompanied by Rear Admiral Ghasham Bin Manahi Al Qahtani, COS (Log & Supply), Jasim Al Khaldi, Deputy Head of Mission Saudi Embassy Pakistan and other members of Commander’s delegation.

Pak-Saudi Bilateral Relations: A Way Forward

(a) Joint Security Shield

Being the sixth largest army in the world and sole nuclear Muslim state, the government of Pakistan proposed to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) the setting up of a formal ‘security bloc’ to combat any external or internal security threats in the region. The creditable policy initiative also stressed the need to have a strategic partnership which would also ensure food safety; further economic integration. Functional security would be epicenter of the proposed security bloc”.

Extended military cooperation would be essential for GCC ongoing socio-economic prosperity and production. Pakistan can provide common military/security bloc to GCC which would be paradigm shift in the region. It would be curial for the GCC short and long terms geo-political and geo-strategic interests. The existing Peninsula Shield in the GCC would be further strengthened and streamlined.

Up-gradation of the weapon system and fighting capabilities of the GCC Peninsula shield would be further cemented by the meaningful Pak-GCC strategic security bloc. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates led the way and strongly demonstrated the power of the GCC Peninsula shield in Bahrain in 2011. There would a joint military to face any potential or emerging regional threats and confronting realities. The prospects of having new weapon system and unifying military training would also be initiated under this planned joint strategic security bloc between the Pakistan and the GCC.

Most importantly, political turmoil in Bahrain has changed the terms of regional engagement. Through its conflict resolution policy and rigorous diplomatic efforts the government of Pakistan succeeded to decrease the chances of expected proxy war in the region. The government of Pakistan reiterated that Pakistan supports all efforts for peace and stability in the Islamic world so as to promote development and prosperity of the common people.

Pakistan and GCC countries can complement each other well due to their close proximity and common interests. Moreover, chalking out of common strategy against terrorism, extremism, human & drugs trafficking and the last but not the least maritime piracy could be rigorously followed. Human trafficking and maritime piracy have become major security concerns to socio-economic stability, investment inflow and above all energy security in the region. The recently occurred horrible incidents of Somalia pirates badly exposed regional vulnerabilities and security derisory. Therefore, Pakistan-GCC security bloc would jointly cope with this widespread menace in the days to come.

Instead of heavily rely on the Western countries equipments or borrowed ideas, regional security bloc may be the appropriate answer to the emerging security concerns to regional countries. Security bloc would safe guard the national sovereignty and territorial supremacy of the member countries. It may also provide strategic-cushion and better bargaining position to all the GCC countries against its rivals in the region. It is obvious from Pakistan’s important and decisive role in the recently happened political fiasco in Bahrain.

(b) Food Security

It is hoped that Pakistan-GCC strategic security bloc would eliminate non-state threats like climate change and water conservation. Food security has become a burning issue in the region especially in the GCC which could be solved by having a common security bloc between Pakistan and GCC countries. Since Pakistan is agriculture country and it easily fulfills the food demands of all the GCC countries. Pakistan has a lot of agriculture lands which can be better utilised with the investment and technology from Gulf countries.

(c) Greater Economic Integration

GCC is one of the main sources of worker remittances in the country. Millions of Pakistanis are doing great job in these countries. The GCC is also one of the biggest sources of investments and joint ventures in the country. So by having a concrete security bloc further economic integration may be speeded-up for the win-win situation to both the sides.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s macro-economy stands tall in the ongoing global economic recession, EU/US debt crisis, and the last but not the least universal financial crunch. It extends its resources and financial reserves ($590 billion foreign exchange reserves, the third largest in the world after China and Japan) for the betterment of its people and regional economies. So way forward, for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is to enhance economic ties for the benefits of both the countries.

(d) Energy Security

Energy security is the mantra of every country around the world. Oil and gas reservoirs are on the decline around the globe. New alternative/renewable energy resources are making serious inroad. Mutual cooperation in solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and nuclear energy etc could be considered in order to compete with the increasingly required energy demands and also to reduce carbon foot-notes. The energy mutual cooperation would provide ample opportunities to Pakistan-GCC leading by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. It would gear-up the onward march of socio-economic prosperity in the days to come in the region. United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are seriously cooperating with Pakistan to overcome its energy deficits.

(e) Arab Spring

In a larger context, Middle East region is passing through its toughest challenge of survival. From Manama to Hama, the political map of the Middle East is being redrawn. The waves of change (Arab Spring) have already produced serious dints in the socio-economic plans and physical landscape in the region. Even the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is feeling the pinch of ongoing Arab Spring and has already lost billions of dollars. It is hoped that the proposed Pakistan-GCC security bloc would be instrumental to maintain law and order, peace, harmony and sovereignty.

(f) Peace in Afghanistan

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have high stakes in bringing peace in unstable Afghanistan. Both the countries can pool their resources to maintain peace in the region at large. So, the way forward for both the countries is to work jointly for bringing peace in Afghanistan and in the region.
Suggestions for further improvement

Sectors/Fields Details

Civil Aviation Increase in cargo flights to save extra tax expenditure as well as quality of a product
Surgical instruments, furniture, leather goods, fruit and vegetable Close coordination and information sharing between the local business community and the Saudi business men to further boost trade.
Administration Simplification of the visa process would further facilitate the business community.
Activation of different forums Pakistan-Saudi Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC), Pakistan-Saudi Business Council (JBC) and rigorous participation in international trade expos and fairs etc.
Systematic information sharing People-to-people contact and high-level exchanges.
Cooperation & Collaboration between chambers The Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce & Industry (CSCCI) and Pakistan’s Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) should jointly work for result-oriented business matchmaking, exchange of information and expertise, joint ventures and regular interaction of the business community through the re-energized Joint Business Council and related mechanisms in order to achieve optimum benefits for the two countries.
Cultural Ties Academic institutions should hold spoken Arabic classes to facilitate communication between both countries. Exchange of journalists would bring desired dividends.
Revival of OIC Both countries must work jointly for the revival of OIC.

There are more than 350 Pakistani investors in the Saudi Arabia have already obtained licenses from Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and have established companies in various fields.

Concluding Remarks

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations which are marked by common perceptions on all issues of mutual interests. Both countries have sought to develop extensive commercial, cultural, religious and strategic relations. The rapidly changing geo-political and geo-strategic scenarios in the region and the Middle East demands greater levels of mutual cooperation and collaboration at all levels.
The way forward between both the countries is to have joint security shield, energy cooperation, food security, joint strategy against terrorism, extremism, piracy and above all collective effort to bring peace in the region and of course in Afghanistan.

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