Pakistan army chief to visit Saudi Arabia to mend fences over Kashmir issue
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI (PAKISTAN) – Pakistan said on Thursday that its army chief will visit Saudi Arabia this week to restore frayed ties over Kashmir. This comes as financial support for the country hangs in the balance.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are traditionally close and Riyadh gave Islamabad a loan of $3 billion as well as oil credit facility of $3.2 billion to help its balance of payments crisis.
But Riyadh is miffed over Islamabad’s criticism that Saudi authorities are lukewarm on the Kashmir territorial dispute. This has prompted General Qamar Javed Bajwa to go on a fence-mending trip on Sunday.
“Yes he is travelling,” Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar said, adding that the visit was pre-planned and “primarily military affairs oriented.”
Both India and Pakistan stake claims over the Himalayan region of Kashmir and they have fought three wars over it.
Pakistan has been pressuring the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) led by Saudi Arabia to convene a high-level meeting to highlight the alleged Indian violations in parts of Kashmir it controls.
But the OIC has only held low-level meetings so far.
“If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told local media last week.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field