Pakistan regards its relations with Saudi Arabia as unique and Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia are not only proud, but feel blessed, to contribute to the progress and prosperity of the Kingdom.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy excellent bilateral relations. Close geographical proximity, historic trade ties, religious affinity and the complementary nature of economic needs have created a strong bondage of trust between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In addition, there is a convergence of views and interests of the two countries on most of the regional and international issues.
Pakistan maintains close military ties with the Kingdom through expertise, extensive support and training for the defense forces of Saudi Arabia. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s recent visits to the Kingdom in July and August respectively and their meetings with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah reflect the depth of the ties.
During his first tour to Asia, King Abdullah included Pakistan as his final destination. During that visit, five agreements/MoUs, encompassing political, economic, educational and scientific-cum-technical cooperation were inked by Pakistan and Saudi officials in the presence of heads of state of the two countries. The two sides also issued a joint statement outlining points of convergence in their political views besides pinpointing activities they wanted to jointly undertake in future.
Similarly, a number of Saudi dignitaries including ministers and governors have visited Pakistan during the last few years. There was exchange of academics also. A delegation of 17 vice chancellors from different universities of Pakistan visited Saudi Arabia and both the countries agreed to foster collaboration in the field of education and research.
Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan on international forums. On the Kashmir issue, Saudi Arabia has been more supportive of Pakistan than any other country in the world. The Saudi news media, ulema, NGOs like Rabita and WAMY and the public in general have also been supporting Pakistan on this issue. Similar support was extended in the OIC ministerial and summit meetings as well.
In commercial and trade sector, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia maintain good relations and the ties are growing. The Kingdom is amongst the top 20 major export destination of Pakistan. Saudi-Pakistan annual bilateral trade is above $3.3 billion. Major items of exports from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia include raw cotton, cotton yarn, cotton cloth, ready-made garments, knitwear (hosiery), made-ups, bed linen, towels, tents & canvas, art silk & synthetic textiles, leather garments, furniture, carpets & rugs, footwear, sports goods and surgical goods, rice, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, biscuits, jams, juices etc.
Pakistan imports major requirements of petroleum from Saudi Arabia. Other items of import from Saudi Arabia include petrochemicals, organic chemical products, plastic and plastic products, fertilizers, steel products, electrical equipment and materials, raw skins, tanned leather, boilers and heavy equipment, copper and copper products, aluminum & aluminum products, chemicals (inorganic), components, precious metals, steel castings, tractors & other floor coverings of man-made fibers, various chemical products, rubber & rubber products, paper, hardboard etc.
Notwithstanding the visible growth in exports from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, there exists wider bilateral trade imbalance. The major cause of overwhelming imbalance in trade transaction is due to bulk import of petroleum from Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan has received more aid from Saudi Arabia than any country outside the Arab world since the 1960s. Official aid is matched by large investments from Saudi entrepreneurs and from religious institutions. Much of the Pakistani madrassa educational system, for instance, is Saudi funded by private donors.
In response to October 2005 earthquake, Saudi Arabia was the single largest donor to relief efforts with aid in excess of $573 million.
In the aftermath of the 2010 floods in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia became the first and the largest donor for the flood victims. According to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, the Kingdom gave $105m (£67m) in aid, the majority in the form of relief goods. The Saudi public had separately raised $19m. King Abdullah ordered a nationwide fund-raising campaign that collected more than SR400 million. The Saudi military and air force set up a back-to-back air bridge between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, sending 30 large cargo planes carrying hundreds of tons of relief goods. The Saudi government also established field hospitals run by the Saudi staff and doctors. The aid for flood victims still continues.
Pakistani has deep respect for people of Saudi Arabia. This relation and respect is centuries old, and is beyond materialistic considerations. All Pakistanis want to see the Kingdom strong and stable. They see the strength and stability of the Kingdom as their own strength and stability. This aspiration has roots in history and is the matter of faith.
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