It would seem Ishaq Dar did the impossible. He promised to bring down the value of the dollar to double digits in 100 days, and he kept true to his word. Of course this would not have been possible if Pakistan was not blessed with the company of such good friends. In his statement he said “a friendly country” had injected $ 1.5 billion into the Pakistan Development Fund (PDF) which among other reasons, had led to the appreciation of the rupee. This anonymous country is allegedly Saudi Arabia and the terms of the loan still remain a mystery. But does that matter? We have the money. The economy is steadily improving. To Ishaq Dar, it does not. But to the rest of us, it absolutely should.

If this money had been loaned to Pakistan by the US, questions would have popped up about the ‘strings attached’ and how it would affect the government and the people as a whole. But so far, not many are concerned that this magnanimous gesture by the Saudis might not be as selfless as it is made out to be.

The dots are there. One need only glance at them to understand the way this has been running. Nawaz Sharif made it a priority to visit Saudi Arabia before other countries. General Raheel Sharif also made a trip, with his best sales pitch for JF-17s at hand. The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline has been sidelined with no substantial reasons cited. And now, Pakistan’s policy on Syria is ambiguous, with rumors that we will not be neutral any longer with the more condemnable suspicion of selling weapons to the rebels in a conflict that does not need any more bloodshed.

Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N have always had close ties with the oil kingdom in the Middle East. If it were only a question of maintaining a good relationship with a friendly country then this loan would not have been a problem. But a close relationship with Saudi,is dangerous intimacy. There comes with it an inherent bias against minority sects like the Shias and the support of questionable wars such as the one in Syria. On the other hand, we share a border with Iran, a Shia majority country, and Saudi Arabia’s rival in a conflict that extends to proxy warfare alongside direct hostilities. Pakistan has a multi-cultural society with a significant Shia population and alienating various minorities is not only inexcusable, its just not on the cards for us. Now more than ever, Pakistan must be very wary of this friendship, especially when you add $1.5 billion into the mix.