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COAS Bajwa To Visit Saudi Arabia Following Govt’s Criticism Of OIC

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Amid deteriorating ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia over former’s criticism of the Kingdom, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa will visit Riyadh next week to hold meetings with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

According to The News, the army chief will have discussions about the developments in Afghanistan while he will also brief his hosts about the situation prevailing in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), especially its annexation by India over a year ago.

The report said that it was being hoped that the meeting would remove the misunderstandings between the two countries.

On Monday, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia for Pakistan Admiral Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy visited the army chief. Both sides had discussions about the subjects of mutual interest, particularly regional security situation and bilateral defence relations.

After Pakistan criticised Saudi Arabia for its failure to step forward to support Kashmir through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that it heads, Riyadh had ended a $3.2 billion oil-credit facility to Pakistan after forcing it to return $1bn loan.

A report claimed that the loan was part of a $6.2 billion package announced by Saudi Arabia in November 2018, which included a total of $3 billion in loans and an oil credit facility amounting to $3.2 billion. Those deals were then signed when Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman made a visit to Pakistan in February last year.

Relations between the two countries then started to break down, however, when Riyadh turned down Islamabad’s request to convene a special meeting of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers.

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In an ultimatum to Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan would have to look for other options if the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation doesn’t come forward in support of its stance on Kashmir.

Qureshi had said that OIC that is led by Saudi Arabia should decide if it wanted to stand with Pakistan on such a sensitive issue, as Pakistan can’t wait for Saudi support anymore. He had said Pakistan skipped Malaysia summit though with a ‘heavy heart’ due to Saudi Arabia’s reservations, so now it was time for Saudis to step forward.

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