• Friday, Nov 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:14 am

Pakistan army chief to visit Saudi Arabia in quest to smooth ties

  • Published at 08:27 pm August 13th, 2020
Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa
File Photo: Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrives to attend the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2017 Reuters

'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 army chief will visit Saudi Arabia this weekend, officials said, seeking to calm diplomatic strains over Kashmir as financial support for Islamabad hangs in the balance.

The two countries are traditionally close and Saudi Arabia in 2018 gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and $3.2 billion oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis.

But Riyadh is irked by criticism from Pakistan that Saudi Arabia has been lukewarm on the Kashmir territorial dispute, two senior military officials told Reuters, motivating General Qamar Javed Bajwa's planned fence-building visit on Sunday.

"Yes, he is travelling," Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told Reuters, though the official line was that the visit was pre-planned and "primarily military affairs oriented."

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full.

Pakistan has long pressed the Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight alleged Indian violations in the part 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.

Money at Stake

Last year, Islamabad had pulled out of a Muslim nations forum at the last minute on insistence by Riyadh, which saw the gathering as an attempt to challenge its leadership of the OIC.

Qureshi's remarks have revived Riyadh's anger, one of the Pakistani military officials and a government advisor said.

Saudia Arabia had already made Pakistan pay back $1 billion two weeks ago, forcing it to borrow from another close ally China, and Riyadh is yet to respond to Pakistan's request to extend the oil credit facility.

"The first year (of the oil credit facility) completed on 9th July 2020. Our request for an extension in the arrangement is under consideration with the Saudi side," a Pakistani finance ministry official told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia is also asking for another $1 billion back, officials at Pakistan's finance ministry and one of the military officers said. The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pakistanis account for more than a quarter of the 10 million expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani leader Khan is also seeking to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran, after attacks on Gulf oil interests that Washington blamed on Tehran, though he said recently that was progressing slowly.

58
52
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail