ISLAMABAD: Troops from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, China, Turkey, Bahrain and Sri Lanka participated in Pakistan’s national day military parade on Saturday at which Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad was the guest of honour.
This is the second time Saudi troops have participated in Pakistan Day, celebrated across the country to mark the anniversary of a 1940 resolution calling for a separate homeland for Muslims in India.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are staunch economic and strategic allies. The former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal once described relations between the two countries as “probably one of the closest relationships in the world between any two countries.”
In 1998, after Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, Riyadh defied global pressure and provided a large quantity of oil on deferred payments to help Pakistan stay afloat.
Last month, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman visited Pakistan on a historic trip and signed a “record investment package,” including a $10 billion oil refinery in the deepwater port of Gwadar. Last year, Saudi Arabia also offered Pakistan a $6 billion loan package to stave off an economic crisis.
On Thursday night, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Maliki, hosted a dinner in Islamabad for the military contingent from Saudi Arabia visiting to participate in the parade.
Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday night and inked agreements for five big projects with Pakistan, attended the military parade as the guest of honor. Azerbaijan’s defense minister, Bahrain’s army chief and several other government officials from Oman also attended.