Home South Asia India Imran Khan in Saudia: Lobbying Support for Kashmir amidst Saudi Security Concerns

Imran Khan in Saudia: Lobbying Support for Kashmir amidst Saudi Security Concerns

Prime Minister Imran Khan has arrived in Jeddah on a two-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to engage with the Saudi leadership on the escalating humanitarian crisis erupting in Indian occupied Kashmir, amongst other engagements

Imran Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Thursday, arrived in Jeddah, commencing his two-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ahead of his trip to the United States, where he will address the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Prime Minister Imran Khan was received by the Governor of Makkah, Khalid Al-Faisal, at the Jeddah Royal Terminal, alongside Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ali Ejaz and Consul General Khalid Majeed.

Discussions on Kashmir Issue

A press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated that during this visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan will discuss the “various dimensions of the grave situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir” with the Saudi leadership.

The statement read, “During the visit, the Prime Minister will discuss with the Saudi leadership the various dimensions of the grave situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, arising from India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019.”

PM Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes after KSA-UAE aligned to diffuse tension in South Asia and de-escalate eyeball to eyeball situation between Pakistan and India following the annexation of IOK.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has been in “regular contact” with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, apprising him of all the developments on the Kashmir issue. The press release noted after the official visit of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, relations between the two Muslim countries have expanded and improved considerably.

The PM’s Office stated, “Since the visit to Pakistan by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in February 2019, there is growing momentum in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations in all areas of cooperation.”

Aside from the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan will also sit down with the Saudi leadership to discuss ways of “further strengthening the economic partnership between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”

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The press statement noted that relations between Pakistan and KSA have always been warm and close, and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit will further deepen the cooperation. It read, “Pakistan-Saudi relations are traditionally marked by warmth and mutual trust. The Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia will further reinforce the close fraternal ties between the two countries and deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.”

Exposing India & Modi

Speaking to the press on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the Premier’s primary agenda is to highlight the Kashmiri cause and expose Indian brutalities across the international community.

The Foreign Minister said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan is focused on highlighting the Kashmiri cause and narrating the predicament of innocent Kashmiri civilians as the Ambassador of the Kashmiri struggle for freedom.”

Commenting on his engagements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Minister said, “The Premier will engage with the Saudi leadership, and apprise them of the regional situation, and the ongoing crisis in occupied Kashmir.”

Read more: Saudi oil attacks put US commitments to the test

Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech for the upcoming UN General Assembly session has also been prepared, and multiple meetings with global leaders have been scheduled along the sidelines of the 74th UNGA session.

He added that the Prime Minister will address gatherings arranged by US think tanks, the Asia Society, and the Council for Foreign Relations, alongside engaging in interviews with multiple media channels.

KSA: Stakeholder in South Asia

Speaking to Global Village Space, Jan Achakzai, the Chairman for Geo-Politics and Balochistan, observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comes at a crucial time in tensions sprouting across the regional neighborhood.

The Baloch analyst said, “PM Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes after KSA-UAE aligned to diffuse tension in South Asia and de-escalate eyeball to eyeball situation between Pakistan and India following the annexation of IOK. PM is also undertaking the visit against the backdrop of KSA formally accusing Iran of an attack on its refineries—with whom Islamabad enjoys friendly ties.”

The situation in the Middle East, South Asia, and West Asia is on a knife-edge and any military escalation between the KSA and Iran or increased tensions leading to clashes will make the whole region unstable.

Achakzai observed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an “important stakeholder” in South Asia, and enjoys a rich history of a strategic partnership with Pakistan. He said, “The KSA is an important stakeholder in the stability of South Asia: it has a strategic partnership with Pakistan spanning over decades and closed security collaboration and Riyadh is also energy provider to India whilst boosting ways to increase oil supply and also is about to make a huge investment.”

Achakzai added, “Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the third such contact in a month, during which he discussed ways to strengthen relations and development in the region. As PM was constantly engaged with Crown Prince, Pakistan strongly lobbied the KSA on the Indian-occupied Kashmir.”

Commenting on the visit by Saudi Foreign Minister and his counterpart from UAE, Jan Achakzai said, “The brief visit to Islamabad, by Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir and his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed attending a serious of meetings with Prime Minister, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi on ways to help out Pakistan and acquired firsthand knowledge of the resentment Islamabad felt after annexation of the Indian-occupied Kashmir.”

The Baloch analyst added, “The Saudi Foreign Minster particularly agreed with Islamabad that India should ease the situation in the IOK, lift curfew and engage the political leadership in the IOK as minimum CBMs for Pakistan to engage India and deescalate. Imran Khan will be using Saudi leverage on India to normalize life in the IOK.”

KSA’s Security Concerns

Jan Achakzai noted that KSA’s security concerns over Iran’s alleged “grey warfare” will also be a subject of discussion during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit.

The Baloch analyst said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan will be discussing the KSA’s security concerns heightened by the “grey warfare” allegedly launched by Iran.”

Achakzai explained Pakistan’s commitment towards Saudi Arabia and its sensitive position in the instance of a conflict between KSA and Iran. He said, “Pakistan is committed to the territorial integrity of the KSA and security of the holy places. Broadly speaking, Islamabad is also sensitive to any possible escalation of tension between Iran and the KSA.”

Read more: Pakistan loops in KSA into perfect alliance: India anxious & Iran nervous – Jan Achakzai

He added, “Islamabad being a neighboring country has balanced its relations with Iran and sought to diffuse and toned down the rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh— as the last thing Pakistan wants is a full scale war in its backyard, higher oil prices, sky-high inflation at times when Afghanistan is already in the boil.”

The Baloch concluded his observation, “Imran Khan will also likely be urging the KSA to calm things and seek the possibility of fruitful dialogue. The situation in the Middle East, South Asia, and West Asia is on a knife-edge and any military escalation between the KSA and Iran or increased tensions leading to clashes will make the whole region unstable.”

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