What is Saudi Arabia's motivation to fund Pakistan?

Note. I am searching for a neutral narrative.

  • 1
    Who funds all the madrassas there? Doesn't seem to be a new thing. pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses/… Aug 16, 2018 at 20:35
  • No, this loan seems to aid the government. My point is that it's not something new for Saudis to send funds to Pakistan, one way or another. Aug 16, 2018 at 20:49
  • At this point any answer would be speculative. But there are a few traditional reasons. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have, in the past, used Pakistan in their proxy wars. My guess is that this new capital loan has some strings attached. Also Pakistan is in no conditions to refuse. It will probably accept funding from both SA, China, and the IMF (unless the US interferes).
    – armatita
    Aug 17, 2018 at 11:29
  • 1
    Yes. It appears both in the Iran-Pakistan relations, and the Iran-Saudi Arabia Proxy conflicts articles in wikipedia. The last accusation was just a few months ago due to Iran recruiting of Pakistani Shia to fight in the conflicts they are involved. This has been reported in mainstream media like BBC. You also have an article about the Zainab Brigade on wikipedia.
    – armatita
    Aug 17, 2018 at 14:07
  • 2
    The $5.5B in the title is, I believe, misleading. From the articles it looks like $1B in aid (with more being sought) and $4.5B FDI. Given the historically close relationship between the two countries and Pakistan's current debt issues, what makes this seem out of the ordinary?
    – Gramatik
    Aug 17, 2018 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


It's not too terribly complicated.

  1. India's economy is growing more rapidly than Pakistan's, which risks Pakistan's economy.
  2. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are both Sunni nations, while Iran is Shia.
  3. Pakistan shares a border with Iran.
  4. Saudi Arabia's biggest fear is that Iran make it back to the world stage and start regaining power via the EU relaxing sanctions on Iran.
  5. Saudi Arabia's biggest asset is money.
  6. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is investing in Pakistan so that if they're ever forced to go to war with Iran, Pakistan will allow Saudi Arabia to land troops on Iran's border with Pakistan.
  • 3
    I would also add that the US has historically been supportive of this relationship since the 1980s. See Chapter 3 of the documentary Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia.
    – Brian Z
    Feb 21, 2019 at 13:12

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