LAHORE: Although King Saud bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia had visited Karachi as a Crown Prince in April 1940, or seven years before the Indo-Pak partition, he was the first monarch from the oil-rich Kingdom to officially tour an independent Pakistan in 1954, research shows.
The friendship bond between the founding fathers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia thus dates back to April 1940, meaning thereby that the Saudi rulers, hailing from the House of Saud, have enjoyed a time-tested religious, economic and geopolitical relationship with Pakistan, much before its inception.
In Karachi, Saud bin Abdul Aziz was accorded a tumultuous welcome by local All-India Muslim League leaders, which included the likes of Mirza Abul Hasan Ispahani, M.A. Maniar and Karim Bhai Ibrahim.
This fact was mentioned on the website of the "South Asia Research and Analysis Studies" in 2018. However, in one of his March 2017 articles appearing in the "Arab News" and the "Saudi Gazette," a Pakistani diplomat Arshad Munir, stationed at the Pakistani Consulate General in Jeddah, had written: "The-then Saudi Crown Prince, Saud bin Abdul Aziz, was accompanied by a large delegation, including his five brothers, Prince Faisal, Prince Saad, Prince Fahd, Prince Mansoor and Prince Abdullah. There is, however, no record of the dignitaries' meeting with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah."
The afore-mentioned Pakistani diplomat had further written: "During the 1943 Bengal famine, the Saudi leadership responded positively to Quaid-e-Azam's appeal for humanitarian assistance. King Abdul Aziz sent the first foreign aid of 10,000 British Pounds to help the people in Bengal."
He had maintained: "In 1946, Jinnah sent a delegation of leaders of the Pakistan movement under M.A.H. Ispahani to the United Nations. While the Indian National Congress team was obstructing the Muslim League envoys' engagements, Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, who was leading the Saudi delegation, came to their rescue. Saudi Arabia invited Ispahani and his colleagues to the official reception given in the honour of all other delegates at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Prince Faisal had then introduced members of the Pakistan movement to other UN delegates, where they explained their struggle for a separate homeland."
Research further shows that in 1954, King Saud had laid the foundation stone for a housing scheme in Karachi - the then capital of Pakistan.
This housing project was named after him as "Saudabad."
King Saud was the second King of Saudi Arabia after his father, King Abdulaziz. He was born in Kuwait in 1902 while his family was in exile, and had then fought alongside his father at the age of 13 to help unify the Modern Saudi state. He then served as Crown Prince for 20 years, and later as a King for 11 years. Ironically, following a coup by his younger brother Faisal, he had died in exile at Athens (Greece) in 1969.
According to King Saud's official website, during his 1954 visit, the-then Governor General of Pakistan, Malik Ghulam Muhammad, and the Pakistani Premier of the time, Mohmmad Ali Bogra, had received him at Karachi Airport and escorted him to his official engagements in the port city.
Kind Saud inaugurated the Dargai Power House in Karachi and had paid homage at the tomb of first Pakistani Premier, Liaquat Ali Khan. However, King Saud's official website does not tell whether he also offered prayers at Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's mausoleum or not.
King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who outlawed slavery in Saudi Arabia in 1962 when he was serving as a Crown Prince during his brother King Saud's reign, had first visited Pakistan in April 1966.
On April 25, 1966, a key Pakistani newspaper "Dawn" had written: "The historic visit of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, which successfully concluded yesterday, has further cemented the ties of brotherhood that bind the two countries. ... His Majesty's six-day stay in this country afforded a welcome opportunity to the Government and the people of Pakistan to express their profound sense of gratitude to the great King and people of Saudi Arabia for their wholehearted support to us in our hour of trial. King Faisal and President Ayub have expressed their common view that solidarity of the Muslim and Arab countries on the basis of mutual respect and common interests is good for all."
In 1968, three years after the Pak-India 1965 War, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the then Saudi Minister of Defence and Aviation, had visited Pakistan and a bilateral defense cooperation protocol was formalized.
King Faisal had again visited Pakistan to attend the 1974 Islamic Summit in Lahore. On February 22 in 1974, Lahore had hosted all the leaders of the Islamic world in the summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The-then Pakistani leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had presided over the historic Summit, which was attended by some of the biggest names in the global politics of that time. Bhutto had also taken Faisal to the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Sehwan Shareef in interior Sindh.
As numerous newspapers and magazines reveal, when King Faisal had cut off oil supplies of the Western world in 1973, the-then American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had come to the Monarch saying: "If Saudi Arabia doesn't lift the boycott, America will come and bomb the oilfields."
Faisal had replied back: "You are the ones who cannot live without oil. You know we are from the desert and our ancestors used to live on dates and milk, so we can easily go back and live like that again."
King Faisal had withdrawn Saudi oil from world markets, in protest over Western support for Israel during the conflict. His move had increased the price of oil and was the primary force behind the 1973 Oil Crisis. It was to be the defining act of King Faisal's career, and gained him lasting prestige among many Arab and Muslim nations.
Lyallpur, the third largest city of Pakistan, was renamed Faisalabad (literally, "City of Faisal") in 1979 in his honour. Similarly, one of the two major Pakistan Air Force bases in Karachi, was named "PAF Base Faisal" in his respect. He was the third son of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul Aziz. On October 10, 1976, according to a "Reuters" news agency report appearing in the "New York Times," King Khalid of Saudi Arabia had begun a six-day state visit to Pakistan.
The-then Pakistani Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had hoped the visit would result in increased Saudi financial aid for his country. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had also visited Pakistan on February 1, 2006. And earlier in October 2003, Abdullah had visited Pakistan for a state visit as a Saudi Crown Prince.
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