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Saudi Arabia as trade partner

After years of political and economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, the current government is still ‘developing a comprehensive package’ in consultation with stakeholders to promote bilateral trade. The government is working on identifying ‘potential’ areas of cooperation between the two countries. Ironically, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are considered ‘brotherly Islamic’ countries and the political elite of the country has close relations with the Saudi monarchs. However, the long-term personal relations could not bring any benefit for the nation. The Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia are considered third grade citizens and have no worth or rights despite they have given their blood in the development of the kingdom. The Pakistani labourers as well as businessmen suffer at the hands of their Saudi sponsors but the Saudi officials and courts always decide in favour of their own people without caring minimum norms of justice and fair play. Now winter season has set in in Pakistan and Saudi citizens have started pouring into country to hunt endangered birds and species which migrate from Russia and beyond every year. The Saudi rulers know pretty well the worth of Pakistani ministers who shamelessly own Saudi work permits without a tinge of conscience.

How unfortunate it is that Saudi princes come to Pakistan for hunting and merry making, but keep their investment portfolios in western countries. Pakistan is a land of opportunities which can give them more profit and guarantee the protection of their capital, but still they prefer western nations over Pakistan. Now the current government is ‘looking for’ the common grounds and areas of economic and trade cooperation. It is not premature to say that the exercise will end in smoke. Despite years of efforts, the Arab investment is not more than a handful of peanuts in Pakistan. If honour and respect is something to care, the government should stop gifting hunting licenses to Arab Sheikhs and rid themselves of ‘personal relations’ with Saudi elite. Arabs are not brotherly Islamic countries, and the government needs to introduce basic changes in its foreign policy. Pakistan should only care about its business and trade relations with other countries, whether those are Muslims or non-Muslims. Pakistan doesn’t need such ‘brotherly Islamic countries’ which ditch it and belittle it at every forum. The rulers of the country should learn to live as part of a respectable nation. Saudi Arabia is not a good trade partner of Pakistan.

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