RIYADH: In a bid to seek help from Saudi Arabia to resolve the Kashmir dispute, Prime Minister Imran Khan reached Riyadh on Thursday and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and apprised him of the latest developments in Jammu & Kashmir.
According to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf official Twitter account, the premier “highlighted the tyranny of the Indian government” in occupied Kashmir following New Delhi’s decision to strip the region of its autonomy on August 5. The occupied territory has since been under a strict government-imposed lockdown and communications blackout.
According to sources, Pakistan is looking on rather banks on Saudi Arabia and US President Donald Trump for earliest possible solution to Kashmir dispute.
During his meeting with the Saudi prince, the prime minister also condemned the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia on Aramco’s oil facilities, the PMO statement said. The leadership of both countries discussed ways to strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the statement added.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz.
The prime minister was in Jeddah for a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia, ahead of his trip to New York for the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He was received by Makkah Governor Khalid Al-Faisal at the Jeddah Royal Terminal.
Prime Minister Imran has been in “regular contact” with the Saudi crown prince over the issue. The prime minister has, as part of his efforts to draw the world’s attention towards the situation in the Kashmir Valley, called the crown prince earlier this month to brief him over the situation in the region.
The prime minister will also bring up the matter in his speech at the UN General Assembly next week. As a result of his phone calls to crown princes of UAE and Saudi Arabia, the foreign ministers of both countries visited Islamabad earlier this month and discussed the situation in occupied Kashmir in their meetings with the prime minister, army chief and foreign minister.
According to observers, two developments in Pakistan today (Wednesday) dashed the hopes of normalising its bilateral relations with neighbour India and people of both the countries along with rest of the world will wait for a miracle for normalcy.
First development was not obliging an Indian request by Pakistan and refusal to grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the decision has been made “keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir”. According to him, a request was received from India that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes to go to Germany and seeks to use the airspace for an overflight on the 20th and wishes to use the same for a return flight on the 28th.
He went on to say; “Keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir and India’s attitude witnessed in the tyranny and oppression [suffered by Kashmiris] and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request,” he said.
The Indian government had formally submitted a request last week for the use of Pakistani airspace following which Pakistan looked into calling a high-level advisory meeting on the matter, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources said that Mr. Modi’s flight would pass over Pakistani airspace on September 20 on his way to the US where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly and address a gathering of Indian-Americans in Houston.
As per international law, the sources had said, Pakistan is bound to grant permission to the Indian premier. If it is rejected, India can appeal to the International Civil Aviation Organisation as a result of which Pakistan may be required to pay a hefty fine.