Pak-Saudi ties are “very solid” and “cannot be broken,” Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN said on Saturday.
Citing assistance the South Asian nation has always received from the kingdom whenever it was needed. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy deep-rooted strategic ties. Around 2.5 million Pakistani expats are living in the kingdom, which is the biggest single source of foreign remittances to the South Asian nation.
“I think our relationship is very solid, the historical ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are unbroken,” Ambassador Munir Akram told Al Arabiya news channel.
“The emotional relationship between the Pakistanis and between Saudi Arabia, and between the leadership of the two nations is such that it cannot be broken,” he said, adding that the kingdom has always helped Pakistan in financial terms, whenever such help was needed.
As Pakistan is struggling with depleting foreign reserves, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) in October announced a generous financial package of $4.2 billion to help the South Asian nation.
The SFD said it would deposit $3 billion dollars into the Pakistani central bank to support the cash-strapped South Asian’s nation’s shrinking foreign reserves. The kingdom, which is a leading supplier of oil to Islamabad, also pledged it would additionally supply $1.2 billion worth of oil to Pakistan on credit.
Saudi Arabia had also supported Pakistan back in 2019 with $3 billion deposits and $1.2 billion of deferred oil payment facility.
On Friday, Muzammil Aslam, a spokesperson for Ministry of Finance, said the Saudi dollars would be deposited in Pakistan’s central bank “within a week.”
“The present facility that they have provided, $3 billion to keeping in our central bank as reserves, this is in order to stabilize the Pakistani currency which has suffered because of inflation,” Akram said.
“We hope that, you know, once Pakistan’s economy recovers, our exports grow so that our reserve position becomes more comfortable, that we will be able to return this money.”
As Saudi Arabia has been facing attacks from Iranian-backed Houthi militants from neighboring Yemen, Akram said Pakistan “would certainly call upon all regional countries to stem this tide of violence and to control the irresponsible actions of the Houthis and other militias in the region.”.
Pakistan has always expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia against any threats to its security and territorial integrity and many times called for an immediate stop to the Houthi attacks, which it says not only violate the kingdom’s territorial integrity, but also threaten the lives of civilians.
“Pakistan has roundly condemned the Houthi irresponsible attacks against Saudi Arabia and other neighbors,” Akram said.
Earlier this month, the UN Security Council slapped sanctions on Houthi rebels linked to the cross-border attacks.
Yemen has been in civil war since 2014 when Houthi rebels took control of the capital of Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country.
A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the US, to try restore the Yemeni government to power. The Houthis have been firing missiles and drones toward Saudi cities and oil facilities ever since.