Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s meeting with Saudi Monarch Shah Abdullah in Mina where the Saudi leader talked highly of ties with Pakistan would help warm up bilateral relations. Both the leaders discussed a range of issues of interest and committed to expand the current state of mutual cooperation.

It must be admitted, though, that the ties are not as warm as they once were. The brotherly country was invariably there to stand by us in times of contingency, when we could proudly say that the Saudis were one of our best friends. One can recall instances when oil was given to us on deferred payment, and in fact that payment was never demanded back. The generosity did not die down in providing aid or even when the situation demanded help on the diplomatic front. Global politics with repercussions for South Asia and Middle East have undergone cataclysmic changes but the excuse is hardly tenable for not staying in touch as closely as before. In fact, the state of Muslim community worldwide vis-à-vis the West calls for greater coordination between brotherly countries. We have leaned on to other quarters that have had a detrimental effect on the relationship. The previously mutually beneficial ties with Saudi Arabia must be rebuilt.