The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) recently organized a seminar in Jeddah to celebrate the 87th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A large number of members of the Pakistani community in Jeddah attended the function, which started with recitation of a few verses from the Holy Quran.
Addressing the event, leaders of the Pakistani community expressed their happiness over the strong bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in all fields. Some of them spoke about the history of the Kingdom from the time of its founder King Abdulaziz and his sons, who succeeded him, such as King Saud, King Faisal, King Khalid, King Fahd and King Abdullah until the present period of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
The speakers expressed their happiness and pride in having an opportunity to live in the Kingdom and contribute to the nation-building process as well as to the massive development boom witnessed across the Kingdom. Some of the attendees recited patriotic songs in Urdu glorifying the Kingdom and commending the excellent bilateral relations.
Saudi Arabia highly values the contributions of the Pakistani community in the unprecedented growth and development witnessed by the Kingdom over the past four decadesDr. Ali Al-Ghamdi
When it came my turn to address the gathering as the guest of honor, I extended my thanks and appreciation to the organizers of the event for inviting me to address the function. I also thanked everyone for celebrating the Kingdom’s National Day, saying that this undoubtedly demonstrates the love of Pakistanis for the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia highly values the contributions of the Pakistani community in the unprecedented growth and development witnessed by the Kingdom over the past four decades. Pakistani doctors, engineers, accountants, technicians and workers were among the first to come to the Kingdom and they have made immense contributions in implementing the nation’s development projects.
After that, I spoke about the history of Saudi Arabia and gave a brief sketch of the Kingdom’s foundation and the various phases through which it passed before its unification. These included the First Saudi State founded by Imam Muhammad Bin Saud in Al-Diriyah, near Riyadh in 1744. The expansion of this state happened after an alliance was forged between Imam Muhammad Bin Saud and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab.
Migrated to Makkah
I pointed out that Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab received his education in Najd and then migrated to Makkah in pursuit of knowledge. He then moved to Iraq where he invited people to tawheed (monotheism) and to abandon the sin of making partners with God (polytheism) and all the idolatry practices that lead to sanctification of anything other than God, such as veneration of saints and visiting their tombs as well as worshipping trees and stones. Those who engaged in such practices came out against his teachings and that forced him to leave Iraq and thus he returned from Basra to his native city of Uyayna, which was ruled by Ibn Muammar.
But the situation was not favorable for him there and under serious threats he was forced to leave Uyayna and then reached Al-Diriyah where he continued his propagation work. He made an alliance with Imam Muhammad Bin Saud, the ruler of Al-Diriyah. This alliance subsequently led to the expansion of Imam Muhammad’s rule to most parts of the Arabian Peninsula. This was the first Saudi State, which continued in power until 1818 when it suffered defeat by the army led by Ibrahim Pasha, sent by his father and the Ottoman ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali Pasha. This army destroyed Al-Diriyah and thus the first Saudi State came to an end.
In the same year as the fall of the first Saudi Sate, Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al-Saud established the Second Saudi State, and its rule continued from 1818 until 1891. Severe internal conflicts within the ruling family and wars with the Ibn Rashid led to the downfall of the dynasty and eventually the rulers took shelter in Kuwait.
The Third Saudi State was founded by Abdulaziz Bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud. In 1902, together with 40 men, the young Abdulaziz was victorious in capturing Riyadh. Then he embarked on endless wars for a quarter of a century until the unification of present day Saudi Arabia. The period between the formation of the Third Saudi State in 1902 and the unification of the Kingdom in 1932 witnessed clashes and wars in various regions of he Arabian Peninsula, resulting in the unification of all regions under one nation called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Before the unification, King Abdulaziz was known for some time as the Sultan of Najd and the King of Hejaz. Later, he came to be known as the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the period of King Faisal, the Kingdom started celebrating National Day. It is the commemoration of the day on which King Abdulaziz named the unified nation the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the reign of King Abdullah, National Day became an official holiday.
At the end of my speech, I said that I hoped that the situation of Muslims around the world would improve over the coming years. In the past, we lamented the plight of the Palestinians and Kashmiris whose problems are perhaps among the oldest in the modern world. At present, we are witnessing the tragedy of Muslims in other countries, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Myanmar. In Myanmar, Rohingya Muslims have been subjected to genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of not only Buddhist extremists but also the government.
Also, we must not forget the plight of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh who have been languishing in squalid camps for 46 years. The Pakistani government has failed to discharge its responsibility of repatriating and rehabilitating these hapless people who have made great sacrifices for Pakistan. The international media pays little or no attention to the plight of the stranded Pakistanis and to that of refugees in many other parts of the world.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on September 28, 2017.
Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @DrAliAlghamdi.