Saudi king assures Imran of support on Kashmir issue

September 20, 2019


Jeddah: Prime Minister Imran Khan is being welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.—Reuters
Jeddah: Prime Minister Imran Khan is being welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thu­rsday expressed his long­standing support and solidarity on the Kashmir issue.

PM Khan, who arrived in Jeddah on a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia on his onward journey to New York where he would attend the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, informed the king about the latest situation in India-held Kashmir (IHK). He was received by Makkah Governor Khalid Al-Faisal at the Jeddah royal terminal.

Soon after his arrival, Mr Khan held a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and discussed with him bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest.

He discussed the situation obtaining in IHK owing to an ongoing 46-day curfew in the region following the Indian government’s Aug 5 decision to strip the disputed territory of its special status.

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He apprised the Saudi prince that the occupied territory had been under a strict government-imposed lockdown and communications blackout.

The prime minister and King Salman exchanged views on regional and global political situation and expressed their desire to enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation.

Matters pertaining to mu­t­ual interest, trade, inv­es­t­ment and economic relat­ions also came under discussion, said a statement issued by the media wing of PM office.

The prime minister conde­mned the attack on Saudi oil facilities. He reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to stand by Saudi Arabia in case of any threat to sanctity or security of Harmain Shareefain.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant to PM for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz were also present in the meeting.

Later, talking to prominent Pakistanis from different walks of life in Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Khan said people of IHK were passing through a critical situation and he would raise the Kashmir issue forcefully at the UN General Assembly session.

He said Kashmir had become an international issue and the whole world had accepted Pakistan’s narrative. He said the purpose of his visit to Saudi Arabia was to apprise the Saudi leadership about the situation in occupied Kashmir.

The prime minister said that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had perceived that the Muslims in India would not get their rights and that’s why he opted for an independent country for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Mr Khan said that now the Modi government’s fascist policy against the Muslims and other minorities living in India had proved it correct.

He said Kashmir had become a global issue and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation had also supported Pakistan’s stance on the dispute.

Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had old and friendly relations and now this relationship had entered a new level, adding Saudi Arabia had always stood by Pakistan in difficult times.

Talking about the domestic situation, he said the government had inherited a debt-ridden economy and now despite a number of difficulties, efforts were being made to reform every sector and enhance investment in the country.

The prime minister said legal reforms were being int­roduced to protect investment by oversees Pakistanis.

He said the government was also ensuring ease-of-doing business to attract investors.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019