In yet another embarrassment for Pakistan, just days after the return of PM Imran Khan from Saudi Arabia to reset the bilateral ties, the Kingdom has now decided to restrict Pakistanis from entering Saudi Arabia. According to a report, Pakistanis inoculated with the Chinese vaccine need to undergo mandatory quarantine in Saudi Arabia as the latter does not recognise Chinese vaccines.
According to an ANI report, Saudi Arabia will impose a mandatory quarantine on Pakistani travellers who have been inoculated with Chinese vaccines. This is because, in the Kingdom’s list of recommended vaccines, vaccines manufactured in China don’t find a place.
As if to rub salts into the wounds of Pakistanis, the cost of the mandatory quarantine will have to be borne by the travellers thereby making it even more difficult for Pakistanis to travel to Saudi Arabia.
This has thrown the Pakistan government into a tizzy as unsurprisingly most of its populace has been inoculated with Chinese vaccines.
However, according to a report by LiveHindustan, Saudi Arabia has also decided to not grant visas to any Pakistani who have been inoculated with China made vaccines.
Ever since Imran Khan supported Turkey President Erdogan’s quest of becoming the leader of the Muslim Ummah thereby challenging the hegemony of Saudi Arabia, the bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Pakistan have been on a downward spiral.
Last year, when Saudi Arabia demanded Pakistan to pay its loan back, the latter took a loan of the same amount from China to return the loan granted by Saudi Arabia, thereby further plummeting Pakistan into the clutches of China. Amidst depleting bilateral relations, Saudi Arabia forced Pakistan to pay back $1 billion four months ahead of its repayment period, for which the latter comically took a loan of the same amount from China in order to pay back the Saudi Kingdom.
In November 2020, Pakistan sought a rollover of outstanding loans worth $4 billion from its erstwhile traditional allies Saudi Arabia and UAE as the country was crippled with dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
The majority of Imran Khan’s tenure has been spent first asking for loans with a begging bowl and whining at the first opportunity available and then lobbying for rollovers and debt relief. Back in November, Pakistan took up hectic lobbying with UAE and Saudi Arabia to roll over loans worth $2 billion which were scheduled to mature in the November-February period of the previous fiscal year.