Pakistan Army Chief arrives in Saudi Arabia amid strained ties on Kashmir
Amid the ongoing strained relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia over Kashmir, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has met Saudi Arabia’s military chief of staff General Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili to discuss the prospects for military cooperation.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa reached Saudi Arabia on Monday and held meetings with the Kingdoms top military leadership, it was reported on Tuesday.
“COAS met His Excellency General (Staff) Fayiadh bin Ha’med Al-Rowaily, Chief of General Staff, and His Royal Highness Lieutenant General (Staff) Fahad bin Turki Al Saud Commander Joint Forces, KSA,” Dawn news agency the ISPR as saying on Monday.
“Military to military ties including training exchanges were focus of the meetings,” it added.
Bajwa’s visit was “primarily military-affairs oriented”, Pakistan’s army spokesman said.
In a statement later in the day, the Pakistani military said Bajwa’s meetings in Saudi Arabia were focused on “military to military ties including training exchanges”.
A traditional ally, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3bn loan and $3.2bn oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis in late 2018.
Pakistan has long pressed the Saudi-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight India’s alleged human rights violations in Kashmir region.
The meeting comes after the decade-long friendship between both countries took a sharp turn when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi issued a blunt warning to Saudi Arabia after the latter refused to act against India over Kashmir issue.
On the first anniversary of revocation of Article 370 by India, Qureshi took Saudi Arabia to task in a TV interview for not obliging Pakistan over the issue of ‘organising’ a meeting of the Council of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir in early February 2020.
Qureshi had stated in his interview with a TV channel that unless the OIC convened CFM meeting on Kashmir, Pakistan would be “compelled to convene a meeting of Islamic countries that are ready to stand with it on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiri Muslims”.
“Today Pakistan is, who are always ready to sacrifice their lives for Mecca and Madina, need Saudi Arabia to play a leading role on the Kashmir issue. If they are not willing to play that role, then I will ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to go ahead with or without Saudi Arabia,” Qureshi said.