PM Imran Khan likely to perform Umrah, meet Saudi leadership

The sources said that PM Khan, during his expected meetings with KSA rulers, will take them into confidence about Islamabad’s ties with China, Turkey and Iran.

PM perform Umrah

Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to perform Umrah along with his wife. It is also expected that the Prime Minister will also hold meetings with Saudi rulers.

The sources said that PM Khan, during his expected meetings with KSA rulers, will take them into confidence about Islamabad’s ties with China, Turkey and Iran.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has also mobilized its Ambassador Saeed Al-Maliki. The Saudi envoy has held meetings with Speaker Asad Qaiser, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and other key government officials.

In this regard, the sources said that the PM has held consultations with the military leadership and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

It is mention here that, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had also visited Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the month, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa went to Saudi Arabia, amid a diplomatic spat that threatened Riyadh’s financial lifeline to the country.

The head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), General Faiz Hameed, accompanied Bajwa.

Read more: Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship has tremendous potential

The two countries are traditionally close and Saudi Arabia in 2018 gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and $3.2bn 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 issue, two senior military officials disclosed, motivating the army chief’s planned visit.

The Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest defense think tank, has credited General Qamar Javed Bajwa for calming down the recent dispute between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

It’s noteworthy that Pakistan has long pressed the Saudi-led Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight Indian violations in occupied Kashmir.

But the OIC has only held low-level meetings so far.

Read more: OIC wants halt to Kashmir abuse by India

Pakistani foreign minister’s strong statements 

On August 5, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said: “I am once again respectfully telling the OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation.

“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.”

Qureshi said that Pakistan had skipped the Kuala Lumpur Summit last December on Saudi Arabia’s request and now Pakistani Muslims were demanding Riyadh “show leadership on the issue”.

“We have our own sensitivities. You have to realise this. Gulf countries should understand this,” the foreign minister had said, adding that he could no more indulge in diplomatic niceties.

Read more: General Bajwa heads to Saudi Arabia: an attempt to undo the damage?

He had made it clear that he was not being emotional and fully understood the implications of his statement. “It’s right, I’m taking a position despite our good ties with Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Although there has been a meeting of the contact group on Kashmir on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York since last August and OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission has made statements on the rights abuses in the occupied valley, but no progress could be made towards the CFM meeting.

The Foreign Office (FO) had later defended the minister’s remarks, saying his was a reflection of people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to raise the Kashmir issue internationally.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing, the FO spokesperson had said that the people of Pakistan had more expectations from the OIC and would like it to play a leading role in raising the Kashmir issue internationally.

Online Int’l News with additional input by GVS News Desk

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