Pakistan has enjoyed warm relations with Saudi Arabia since the birth of the country in 1947. The relations are rooted in the centuries old religious, cultural and commercial links between the two peoples. The relationship is also based on shared Islamic ideals. Pakistan is the only state founded on Islamic identity while Saudi Arabia is the birth place of the Prophet (PBUH) and home to the two holiest sites of Islam. Quran and Sunnah play a significant role in the constitutional framework of the both countries.
A Treaty of Friendship was signed by the two countries as early as in 1951, laying the basis for cooperation. Bilateral relations were buttressed over the coming decades by a tradition of strong financial and strategic assistance extended to each other by the two brotherly countries whenever required.
Over the years, the two countries have also succeeded in developing a unique synergy for mutual development. Saudi Arabia is home to the largest number of Pakistani expatriates, approximately two million. Pakistani engineers, construction experts and labour have played a crucial role in building infrastructure in the modern Saudi Arabia. Similarly, Pakistani doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, academics and financial experts played a premier role in developing institutional infrastructure of the Kingdom. In the process, the Kingdom has provided employment to Pakistanis ranging from high-tech urban professionals to unskilled laborers from the remotest parts of Pakistan. The large pool of Pakistani professionals and skilled and unskilled manpower is a great asset for the Kingdom.
A number of monuments in Pakistan bear testimony to the depth of bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia. The International Islamic University in Islamabad was established with a grant of US$10 million from Saudi Arabia. The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the key landmark building in the capital of Pakistan, is named after King Faisal. The third largest city in Pakistan was renamed Faisalabad after King Faisal.
In keeping with the high degree of mutual trust and brotherhood, there is a regular exchange of high level visits between the two countries. From Pakistani side, the following visits took place during the last few years:
Saudi Arabia has provided generous financial support to Pakistan. In recent years, the Kingdom has provided a deposit of US$200 million to be kept in the State Bank of Pakistan, US$200 million to finance purchase of Urea fertilizers, and a loan amounting to US$80 million for the construction of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Plant.
In addition, Saudi Arabia has contributed US$100 million for humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons in Malakand region. To assist the victims of floods in Pakistan, Saudi Government announced $105 million, which is 13.3% of the total amount pledged by the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia became the second biggest donor to Pakistan’s flood victims. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah and other members of the royal family also contributed generously in their personal capacity. King Abdullah’s personal donation amounted to SR 300 million, followed by SR 10 million by then Crown Prince HRH Sultan bin Abdulaziz, and SR 5 million by then Interior Minister HRH Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated SR 25 million and also visited Pakistan personally to assess the damage caused by flood.
Other relief assistance from Saudi Arabia included: 30-Cargo-Plane airlifts of humanitarian supplies; a land convoy of one thousand trucks that carried thousands of tons of wheat, 350 tons of dates and 30,000 tents to Pakistan; two field hospitals, along with medical staff and equipment; and a Saudi search and rescue team.
Following agreements have been signed between the two countries:
In addition, following agreements are in the pipeline: