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.

Recent High Level Visits from Pakistan

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:

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Kingdom in May 2019 to attend Organisation of Cooperation (OIC) Summit in Makkah Al Mukarramah held under the Chair of Saudi Arabia.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Kingdom in Oct 2018 to attend an International Investment Conference in Riyadh and held bilateral discussions with the Crown Prince.
  • Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited the Kingdom in April 2018 to witness a joint tri-services military exercise, ‘Gulf Shield’.
  • Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited the Kingdom in Auguat 2017 and held bilateral discussions with the Crown Prince.
  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the Kingdom in March 2016 to witness the concluding ceremony of Military Exercise – North Thunder.
  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the Kingdom in Jan 2016 and held bilateral discussions with the King.
  • Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited the Kingdom in July 2013.
  • Earlier, former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani visited Saudi Arabia in June 2012.
  • President Asif Ali Zardari visited the Kingdom on a two-day visit in July 2011. He held a cordial and productive meeting with King Abdullah.
  • This was followed by a visit by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to the Kingdom on 7-9 August 2011 and held a meeting with King Abdullah.
  • President Asif Ali Zardari visited the Kingdom on 25 October 2011 to offer condolences on the passing away of then Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.

Recent High Level Visits from Saudi Arabia:

  • Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman visited Pakistan in Feb 2019 and held bilateral discussions with President and Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  • Deputy Crown Prince (Now Crown Prince) Muhammad Bin Salman visited Pakistan in Jan 2016 and held bilateral discussions with Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  • Crown Prince (now King) Salman bin Abdul Aziz visited Pakistan in Feb 2014. HRH met President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and discussed bilateral, regional and international affairs.
  • Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah paid a historic visit to Pakistan in 2006 after ascending to the throne. Agreements signed on the occasion pertained to a) educational cooperation, b) scientific cooperation, c) vocational cooperation, d) consultation between the Foreign Ministries, and e) Avoidance of Double Taxation. All the agreements have been ratified by the two countries.
  • The then Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz visited Pakistan in 2006.
  • Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal participated in seven countries’ Foreign Ministers’ conference in Islamabad in February 2007.
  • Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al Ammar visited Pakistan in February 2007.
  • Imam of Ka’ba Abdur Rehman Al Sudais visited Pakistan in 2007.
  • Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Secretary General National Security Council visited Pakistan in the last week of March 2011 as a Special envoy of King Abdullah. He met with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gillani and Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. During the meetings, the two sides exchanged views on host of issues including the evolving situation in the Middle East.
  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Vice Foreign Minister and son of King Abdullah, visited Pakistan in April 2012. He met the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan and held talks with the Foreign Minister.

Saudi Financial and Humanitarian Support to Pakistan

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.

Agreements signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

Following agreements have been signed between the two countries:

  • Friendship Treaty
  • Air Service Agreement
  • Agreement between Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and Associate Press of Pakistan (APP)
  • Extradition Agreement
  • Cultural Agreement
  • Agreement on Economic, Commercial & Technical Cooperation.
  • Agreement on Security Cooperation (Military Cooperation)
  • Agreement on Bilateral Political consultations
  • Agreement on Scientific & Technological Cooperation
  • Agreement on Technical and Vocational Training
  • Agreement on Programme of Education and Scientific Coordination
  • Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation

In addition, following agreements are in the pipeline:

  • Agreement on Security Cooperation on Combating Crimes.
  • MoU on Cooperation for control of illicit trafficking of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance.
  • MoU between Ministries of Religious Affairs of two countries.
  • Agreement on Transfer of Offenders.
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Sports.
  • Bilateral Investment Treaty.