Saturday, October 27, 2018
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Why It Matters
The Saudi loan raises important questions about Riyadh's relationship with Islamabad. The kingdom may, for example, expect Pakistan to cool its growing security partnership with Iran. Relations between Riyadh and Islamabad stretch back decades, but Pakistan's increasingly warm relationship with Iran is a more recent development sparked by a shared interest in containing the threat of transnational jihadism branching out from the Islamic State node in Afghanistan. The growing relationship between Tehran and Islamabad will force Pakistan to maintain a balancing act between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Khan's most recent trip to Saudi Arabia was the premier's second after his ruling Pakistan Tahrik-e-Insaf party came to power in August. Notably, his first diplomatic visit as prime minister was a trip to Riyadh. Although Khan has expressed concern about the death of journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, the premier's decision to attend the conference in Saudi Arabia is a clear indication of his country's priorities. Islamabad's dire economic straits will trump human rights concerns, prompting the Islamic world's only declared nuclear power to increasingly rely on Saudi Arabia, the Islamic world's wealthiest nation, as the two navigate onward.
Pakistan's late human rights activist Asma Jahangir has won the UN Human Rights Prize 2018.
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the president of the United Nations General Assembly, tweeted on October 26 that Jahangir, along with Rebeca Gyumi, the founder of a Tanzanian NGO, Brazilian lawyer Joenia Wapichana, and the Irish human rights organization Front Line Defenders won the prestigious UN award.
“I am proud to recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations that promote and protect human rights,” Espinosa wrote.
Jahangir, who was given the award posthumously, served as the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions from 1998 to 2004 and as the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief from 2004 to 2010.
Jahangir died in February at the age of 66 after she suffered a stroke.
The Human Rights Prize is awarded every five years, in accordance with the General Assembly's 1966 resolution.