Pakistan attempts to mend its relationship with Saudi Arabia

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After witnessing deterioration in ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for months, Islamabad on Monday made an attempt to mend its relationship with the Kingdom.

ARY News reported that the commitment was renewed during a telephonic conversation between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir on Monday.
“FM @SMQureshiPTI held a telephone conversation with Saudi MoS H.E. Adel al-Jubeir. Underscoring close Pak-Saudi fraternal ties, FM reaffirmed commitment to further enhance this strategic relationship. Two Ministers reviewed bilateral cooperation and agreed to intensify bilateral exchanges,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.

The decade-long friendship between both countries took a sharp turn when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had issued a blunt warning to Saudi Arabia after the latter refused to act against India over the 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 Organisation 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”.

He further said, “Today Pakistanis, 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.”

As retaliation, Saudi Arabia issued a statement that loans or oil supply will no longer be given to Pakistan.

Islamabad was also made to pay back USD 1 billion to Riyadh, which was part of a USD 6.2 billion package announced by Saudi in November 2018, which included a total of USD 3 billion in loans and an oil credit facility amounting to USD 3.2 billion.

Faced with the possibility of Saudi Arabia going against Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Saudi Arabia’s military chief of staff General Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili on August 18 to discuss the prospects for military cooperation.

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