The Prime Minister of Pakistan underestimates the differences with Saudi Arabia


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has played down differences with Saudi Arabia, a long-time ally of his country, after the Pakistani army chief visited Riyadh in an attempt to ease a dispute over policies related to the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a press conference in Malaysia on February 4, 2020. Photo: Lim Hui Ting – Reuters.

The dispute, triggered by Pakistani demands for Saudi Arabia to take a more assertive approach with India over what Islamabad says are human rights violations it is committing in Kashmir, has threatened Saudi financial support for Pakistan.

In an interview late on Tuesday evening, Khan said that there are no differences between his country and Saudi Arabia, distancing himself from criticism of the foreign minister against the kingdom this month, indicating that it does not care about Kashmir.

“The rumors about the deterioration of our relations with Saudi Arabia are completely false,” Khan said in an interview with Dunia News TV.

“Our relations are very good,” he added. We are in constant touch. ”

The army said its commander traveled to the kingdom on Monday for a one-day visit that was “focused primarily on military matters.”

But senior military and government officials said the aim of the visit was to calm the crisis situation that could seriously damage foreign reserves for cash-strapped Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia granted Pakistan a $ 3 billion loan and $ 3.2 billion of credit to buy oil to help it overcome the balance of payments crisis in late 2018.

Military officials and others at the Finance Ministry told Reuters that Pakistan’s claims to Riyadh for its support in the face of India over Kashmir prompted Saudi Arabia to force Islamabad to return $ 1 billion before it was due.

The officials also said that Saudi Arabia is also demanding repayment of another billion dollars from the loan and has not responded to Pakistani requests to extend the oil facilities.

The Saudi government has not commented on the matter.

The Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Cooperation has only held low-level meetings on Kashmir, disappointing some who want a tougher stance.

“On the issue of Kashmir, there is an opinion that the OIC should have provided aid,” Khan said.

“Saudi Arabia has its own foreign policy. We do not think it will do anything just because we want it. ”

Analysts say Saudi Arabia does not want to risk its business interests in India in order to support Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. And live in the region a Muslim majority. Pakistan and India claim sovereignty over it, but each manages part of it.

Preparation of Doaa Muhammad for the Arabic Newsletter – Edited by Suha Gadu


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