Pakistani army chief arrives in Saudi Arabia amid tense relations | New
General Qamar Bajwa’s trip comes as Riyadh has threatened to withdraw financial support for Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
The Pakistani army chief arrived in Saudi Arabia amid a disagreement between the two countries that threatened the financial lifeline from Riyadh to Islamabad.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit on Monday was “mainly oriented towards military affairs,” the Pakistani army spokesman said.
In a statement released later today, the Pakistani military said the Bajwa meetings in Saudi Arabia focused on “military-to-military ties, including training exchanges.”
A traditional ally, Saudi Arabia granted Pakistan a $ 3 billion loan and a $ 3.2 billion oil credit facility to deal with its balance of payments crisis at the end of 2018.
Pakistan has long pressured the Saudi Arabia-led Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to convene a high-level meeting to highlight alleged human rights violations committed by India in the disputed region of Kashmir.
But the OIC has so far only held low-level meetings.
“If you cannot summon him, then I will be obliged to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to convene a meeting of the Islamic countries which are ready to support us on the Kashmir issue and support the oppressed Kashmiris,” the minister said. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah. Mahmood Qureshi told local media in recent weeks.
Last year, Islamabad withdrew at the last minute from a forum of Muslim nations at the insistence of Riyadh, which saw the rally as an attempt to challenge its OIC leadership.
Qureshi’s remarks rekindled Riyadh’s anger, one of the Pakistani military officials and a government adviser said.
Saudi Arabia has forced Pakistan to repay $ 1 billion prematurely and is demanding an additional $ 1 billion from the loan.
Riyadh has also failed to respond to Pakistani requests to expand the oil facility, military and finance ministry officials told Reuters.
Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief General Faiz Hameed was accompanying Bajwa, a Pakistani military source said.
Pakistanis make up more than a quarter of the 10 million expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.
Prime Minister Khan is also seeking to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran, following attacks on Gulf oil interests Washington blamed on Tehran, although he recently said this was progressing slowly.