Islamabad: Pakistan’s leaders should work towards ending Arab influence in the country’s internal matters instead of ‘renewing’ its ties with its Saudi ‘lords’ who have wreaked havoc there in the name of Islam, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said.
Noting that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani termed his recent visit to Saudi Arabia as a ‘renewal of ties’, the Daily Times editorial said that the Arab influence has already turned Pakistan into a blood-soaked battlefield.
“The fault lies with Pakistan’s leaders who have never questioned the Arab sheikhs for their dubious and nefarious activities in the region and in Pakistan. Pakistani society has become intolerant over the years because of various reasons, but most importantly because of Saudi Arabia’s powerful influence in our internal matters,” it said.
“The growth of Wahabiism and extremism in Pakistan is mostly because of funding by Arab sheikhs. Is it not time to bid adieu to such negative influences instead of asking them for ‘renewal’ of ties?” it added.
The editorial stated that the seeds of Arabisation of Pakistan germinated in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s time and bore plentiful fruit under General Ziaul Haq’s regime, and that none of the Pakistani leaders, be they civilian or military, thought much about the consequences of getting too close to the Arab overlords.
“The poison that the Saudiisation of Pakistan produced has now spread countrywide. King Abdullah’s words during Prime Minister Gilani’s visit are of significance. The monarch said, "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are one country; they are more than friends and more than brothers",” the editorial noted.
But instead of sending shockwaves down the Pakistani leadership’s spine, King Abdullah’s statement was welcomed by Gilani, who went a step further by saying: “Pakistan’s security was Saudi Arabia’s security and Saudi Arabia’s security was Pakistan’s security.”
“If this is how our leaders are going to behave — bowing to every whim of the monarchs of Saudi Arabia — they might as well move all Pakistanis to the Rab’ al Khali (the empty quarter, the massive desert in the heart of Saudi Arabia where nothing grows or lives) and invite the Arab sheikhs to reside in Pakistan instead,” the editorial warned.