Among the many challenges Saudi Arabia has faced in recent months, one has come as a particularly unexpected disappointment: the cooling of relations between the desert kingdom and one of the main recipients of its largesse, Pakistan.
For decades Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed a robust friendship with significant strategic and financial ramifications. But suddenly, Islamabad appears to feel much less warmly disposed toward its wealthy Arab friend.
The change came as a blast of cold air in April, when the Pakistani parliament voted unanimously to rebuff a Saudi request for troops and equipment to help its war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. After a lengthy, mostly one-sided debate, legislators resolved that “Pakistan should maintain neutrality” in the conflict.