Pakistani–Saudi Ties: Anatomy of a Unique Relationship

Number: 56
Umer Karim

*This Dirasat was published on May 3, 2020 and was updated on September 25, 2022.

The primary purpose of this study is to dissect the nature of the Pakistani– Saudi relationship from an international relations perspective and shed light upon how their respective evolving strategic and security outlooks are shaping their bilateral relationship. This research attempts to highlight the critical domestic and regional variables that have impacted the nature of the bilateral relationship. The study further explains the political impact on bilateral ties of strong interpersonal ties between the political and security leaderships of both sides while also pointing out the inherent limitations of such personal or institutional channels against the backdrop of dynamic and often conflictual domestic and regional politics. Another focus of this study is Pakistani–Saudi engagement since the ascension of King Salman to the throne in 2015 and the rise of Imran Khan’s populist brand of politics within Pakistan, and his assumption of the prime ministership in 2018.