Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s relations have been tested to the hilt in the year 2020. With the visit of Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane, the ice between the two Muslim nations is expected to thicken even more. However, a development that has surprised the observers is the ejection of Pakistani Imams from the clerical places of worship by the Saudi authorities.
According to news reports, the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are working on an elaborate plan to weed out the Pakistani imams from the place of worship by ‘Saudizing’ the jobs – meaning, only the Arab nationals would be eligible to take up the jobs of imam and muezzin (caller to prayer) at prayer halls of major commercial complexes.
“There are commercial complexes where expatriates (read mostly from Pakistan) from various nationalities are hired as imams and muezzins in the prayer halls,” the report reads.
The Kingdom’s government holds these religious institutions in high regard and therefore with a large influx of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, directions have been given to agencies supervising the major commercial complexes to appoint Saudi imams and muezzins.
The motive behind the move is being attributed to KSA’s willingness to accept Israel into its fold. The signing of the Abraham accords between Israel and other Gulf countries has made Kingdom think about its choices and if reports are to be believed, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made up his mind about Israel and can any day make an announcement of normalizing ties with the nation.
However, with the majority of Imams of Pakistani origin operating in Mecca and Medina, KSA expects a severe reaction as Pakistan has actively begrudged Israel in the past. Hence, the move is to contain any such probable reaction. It is a well-known fact that the Imam of Kaaba (in Mecca) sermon is provided by the KSA establishment but there are also hundreds of other mosques, where Pakistani Imams preside over the prayers.
On the façade, KSA has claimed the move is intended to reduce the rising rate of unemployment and aimed at ‘Saudization’ of its institutions but the truth cannot be far from it. Saudi wants to consciously decouple itself from the terrorist state of Pakistan and is doing everything in its hand to lead this endeavour to fruition.
India has had a major hand in helping Saudi distance itself from Pakistan. The increasing economic and now military ties between New Delhi and Riyadh, has made the two nations come even closer.
Reported by TFI, General MM Naravane has embarked on a week-long trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE where he is expected to sow seeds of a military alliance. The Arab World’s affinity towards New Delhi has rattled Islamabad which has been receiving constant battering from the Muslim world for its infatuation with Turkey and the radical Muslim nations.
Read: India, with its Army Chief’s move, completely decouples Pakistan from the rest of the Islamic world
Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the issue of Kashmir were dealt a huge blow when Saudi Arabia, owing to the increasing diplomatic and economic ties with India decided to sit this discussion out, much to the chagrin of Pakistan. Forget discussing the Kashmir issue, Saudi Arabia didn’t even allow the topic to become part of the OIC meet for a heartbeat. The Kingdom constantly maintained that Kashmir was India’s internal matter and therefore remained aloof of it.
Dejected by such a humiliating snub, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi went to a national TV channel and blasted Saudi Arabia for standing with India and ditching Pakistan.
After Qureshi’s brilliant decision of blackmailing the Saudis on live TV backfired, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa rushed in to clean up the mess left behind by him. Bajwa instantly boarded a flight to Riyadh to placate the enraged Saudis and Crown Prince Mohammad in Salman. However, in a major embarrassment, Qamar Bajwa failed to secure a meeting with MBS and ultimately had to return empty-handed.
Read more: Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa went to Saudi with high hopes, but MBS avoided him like a lice-infested mongrel
Saudi Arabia is out to dish out some humiliation to Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his insipid government can do nothing but receive these heavy punches on their face because the alternative — trying to counter-attack can prove incredibly dangerous to its existence.
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