Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday told Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Pakistan will continue to facilitate all efforts intended to resolve longstanding diplomatic disputes, adding that preserving peace benefits not only the region, but the entire world.
During a daylong trip to the Gulf kingdom, Khan urged for the resolution of all pending disputes in the Middle East. He also emphasized the strategic importance of the Pakistan-Saudi relationship, terming it a pivotal partnership for peace, progress and prosperity.
Khan congratulated Saudi Arabia on assuming leadership of the G20 forum, saying it reflected the kingdom’s leadership of, and stature in, the international community.
During his meeting with the Crown Prince, the prime minister informed him of the ongoing crisis in India-held Kashmir, which has been under a virtual lockdown since Delhi scrapped its special status on Aug. 5. He also updated MBS of India’s ongoing rhetoric and actions on the Line of Control. Khan thanked Saudi Arabia for its traditional support to the Kashmir cause, including at the Organization of Islamic Conference forum. Both Khan and MBS discussed various ways by which they could advance the cause of Kashmiris through either the OIC or other means.
Saudi Arabia has yet to formally condemn India over the Kashmir situation, despite Khan’s claims. In October, the Gulf kingdom told Delhi it understands its “actions in Jammu and Kashmir.” It has also dubbed Kashmir an “internal matter” of India, despite Khan’s various attempts to internationalize the dispute to force the global community to take action.
During their meeting on Saturday, both MBS and Khan expressed satisfaction over the ongoing bilateral cooperation between their two nations. They hoped to further advance this process during a meeting of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, slated to occur early next year.
MBS offered Khan full support to develop Pakistan’s tourism sector, with a press release claiming a Saudi team would soon undertake a visit to Pakistan in this regard.
Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sought to dismiss the perception that Khan was forced to undertake the trip to Saudi Arabia to resolve “misunderstandings” resulting from Pakistan’s support of the Kuala Lumpur Summit as a substitute to the OIC. He told private broadcaster ARY that the incumbent government had resolved all issues that had once existed between Islamabad and Riyadh—a curious assertion as the Gulf kingdom has traditionally enjoyed great relations with all previous governments, going so far as to facilitate the exile of Nawaz Sharif after then-Army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousted him from power in a military coup.
Qureshi said Pakistan was a founding member of the OIC and did not wish to see it divided, adding it was elements wishing harm on the Muslim World that were trying to posit the Kuala Lumpur Summit as its replacement. He said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad had even invited Saudi Arabia to attend the summit, as the Gulf kingdom was a vital member of the Muslim world.