Islamabad: – The threat issued by Pakistan, that if the OIC did not convene a meeting over the Kashmir Issue, Pakistan would call a meeting of the Islamic countries, supporting Pakistan on the Kashmir Issue, has boomeranged on Pakistan. Following this threat issued by the Pakistan Foreign Minister, taking Prime Minister Imran Khan’s name, to OIC, where Saudi has a good influence, Saudi has stopped the supply of crude oil, to Pakistan, on credit and also has asked for repayment of the loans given to Pakistan. It is being reported that given the increasing pressure from Saudi, Pakistan took an emergency aid from China and repaid $1 billion to Saudi.
Discussions are rife over the report that the Imran Khan government in Pakistan, borrowed money from China to repay Saudi. One Pakistani journalist has created a sensation with this revelation in his news report. More importantly, the Pakistan government has tried to hide the whole transaction. But following the media reports regarding the transaction, Imran Khan government has not been able to reply to the reports.
Pakistan’s economic condition has not improved, the foreign currency reserves are stagnant and the debt burdens are enormous. Imran Khan is being asked a pointed question, that in this situation where did the $1 billion, repaid to Saudi overnight, come from. It is also being asked ‘What transpired that this money was borrowed in an emergency from China and paid to Saudi?’ These questions are expressing the fear that Saudi Arabia is upset with the Pakistan government and if this continues, a spate of new crises will start.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia had given a loan of $6.2 billion to Pakistan following an appeal made by Imran Khan. Pakistan received this loan in the form of fuel credit of $3.2 billion and $3 billion in cash. In the last two years, Saudi had never pressed for any repayment. Instead, in April, Saudi expressed willingness to extend the repayment period. Therefore, these sudden developments have created a sensation in Pakistan. Now, this is being linked to the statement of the Foreign Minister. It is being claimed that Saudi and its allies are infuriated due to the indirect threat issued by the Pakistan Foreign Minister to create a parallel to OIC.
On 5th of August, abrogation of article 370, from Jammu-Kashmir, completed one year. To protest this, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had organised a rally at Muzaffarabad in POK and had made some tall claims. Before the Pakistan Prime Minister published a political map, showing the Indian territories of Jammu-Kashmir, Ladakh, Junagarh and Sir Creek as parts of Pakistan. But all this Pakistan dramatics has did not affect the international level. Instead, Pakistan fell flat on its face, when it tried to raise this issue in the UN Security Council, with assistance from China. During the efforts to show that it is serious about doing something in the Kashmir issue, Pakistan seems to have made a blunder of hurting Saudi, an old ally. This blunder appears to have cost dearly to Pakistan.
Pakistan is trying to organise a meeting of OIC, the Organisation of Islamic countries. The intention is that the Islamic countries should denounce the abrogation of article 370 and other decisions taken by the Indian government and issue a stern warning to India. But the countries, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others are not willing to oblige. Pakistan had demanded an OIC meeting, even in February, on the Kashmir issue. After being denied the meeting, Pakistan approached Malaysia and Turkey. At that time, the Pakistan Prime Minister himself had criticised the OIC stand and had indicated forming a front with Turkey and Malaysia. Saudi Arabia had been tremendously upset over this. Now the bilateral relations seem to have been further strained due to the threat issued by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Pakistan media is saying that Saudi Arabia has been and old friend and supporter for Pakistan. Saudi has bailed Pakistan out many times, during an economic crisis. Also has given loans to Pakistan. Saudi had come to Pakistan’s help through fuel credit and other means, even when Pakistan was facing sanctions following the nuclear test in 1998. Saudi Arabia has let go of many Pakistani debts and has never pressed for repayment of loans. Therefore, questions are being raised in Pakistan like ‘What transpired now that Saudi is asking for repayment of a loan given in 2018” and ‘Why did the Imran Khan government clandestinely borrow funds from China to pay to Saudi Arabia?’
Pakistan is grappled with fears that following Saudi Arabia, even the United Arab Emirates and other countries will make similar demands. If the loans are not repaid, millions of Pakistanis employed in those countries will lose their jobs and will be sent back to Pakistan. Pakistani analysts are expressing fears that this will burden the economy, poverty and unemployment will increase and this will result in deepening the economic crisis in Pakistan. Some of the analysts are saying that the Pakistan government’s policy to repay a loan, borrowing from another country, will only push Pakistan more towards an economic crisis.