MBS says ‘No’ to Pakistan, while leaning towards India

Lahore, 2nd November: Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman says ‘No’ to Pakistan for using Saudi soil for anti-India agenda.

Baaghi TV: Saudi officials say that the Crown Prince, popularly known as MBS is considering giving the OIC  membership to India.

Saudi Arabia, which had in the recent past emerged as one of Pakistan’s strongest allies, is slowly trying to move away from that perception under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

As per reports from the TGS, the most recent example of this, which also has an Indian connection, was seen last month, when the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) refused to give permission to the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh and its consulate in Jeddah to celebrate “Kashmir black day” on 27 October, which Pakistan observes to mark the anniversary of the day the Indian Army arrived in J&K to fight off the 1947 Pakistani invasion.

Where on one hand the ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have plummeted, the diplomatic ties between India and Saudi Arabia and those between MBS and Narendra Modi at a personal level have strongly evolved in the past few years.

The Sunday Guardian Live also reported that last year in February, MBS had visited Pakistan and offered it a much-needed financial package which played an important role in protecting the collapsing economy.

However, ties hit rock bottom after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on 4 August 2020 threatened that it would bypass the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-nation body led by Saudi Arabia, and seek support from other Islamic countries if the OIC did not address Pakistan’s concerns on Kashmir.

MBS responded to the threat by withdrawing financial aid to Pakistan following which the Pakistani army stepped in and on 17 August, its chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa personally went to meet MBS, who refused to meet him.

A senior government official explained that MBS’s steps to move away from Pakistan were in keeping with his long-term plan of reforming Saudi Arabia and changing global perception about it. He said, “MBS wants to build Saudi Arabia into a modern, world-class country that will emerge as a global hub for the service sector. He is working hard to break the image of it being a hub of supporters of radicalism. He knows the future and, therefore, is working on a roadmap that shuns Wahhabism. His obsession lies with changing the perception of Saudi Arabia rather than acting on the directions issued by Pakistan and interfering in issues on Pakistan’s behalf, which, is the font of global terrorism. To move ahead, MBS knows he has to walk with India and not be recognised as Pakistan’s mentor.”

MBS is also considering giving India the membership of the OIC, something which it has not done so far under pressure from Pakistan.

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