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No Rifts Between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: Foreign Office

by Newsweek Pakistan

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. Courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Spokesperson tells weekly press briefing senior Indian diplomat has been summoned to register protest over ceasefire violations

There is no rift between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said on Thursday, as he reiterated that the two countries enjoy “unique” relations deeply rooted in religion, culture and social ties.

Addressing a weekly press briefing, Chaudhri pointed to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent claims in an interview that ties between Riyadh and Islamabad remained undiminished. He said this week’s visit to Saudi Arabia by Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was also testimony to the unchanged fraternal relations and close contact between the two brotherly countries.

Both countries have strong economic, political, security and military cooperation at all levels, he said, adding that last year’s meeting between the prime minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had further cemented these ties and opened new avenues of cooperation in various fields such as trade and investment.

To another question, the spokesperson said Pakistan valued Saudi Arabia’s important role in the Organization for Islamic Cooperation Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.

On a recent deal between the U.A.E. and Israel to normalize their relations, Chaudhri said there had been no change in Pakistan’s principled position on the issue of Palestine. Islamabad has an abiding commitment to see the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, he said, adding that this included their right to self-determination for a just, comprehensive and long-lasting peace.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had consistently supported a two-state solution in accordance with UNSC and OIC resolutions, adding this should be in accordance with the pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of Palestine. He said Pakistan’s response to the friendly relations between Israel and Gulf states would be guided by Islamabad’s evaluation of whether or not Palestinian rights were being upheld—and on its impact on regional peace, security, and stability.

To a question on Kashmir, Chaudhri said the OIC Contact Group had thus far held four meetings on the issue since India’s had unilaterally and illegally abrogated the region’s special status last year. He said the OIC has condemned India’s human rights violations in India-held Kashmir, adding that it has also called for a resolution of the dispute under U.N. resolutions.

Addressing Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, the spokesperson said Delhi had committed 2,027 such violations along the LoC thus far this year, resulting in the deaths of 16 civilians and causing injuries to 176 others. He said India, by committing ceasefire violations, was trying to divert global attention from the Kashmir issue.

He said a senior Indian diplomat had been summoned to the Foreign Office this morning to register Pakistan’s protest over unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC. He also clarified that Delhi was not cooperating with Pakistani courts in the case of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

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