Amid the ongoing strained relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has met Saudi Arabia’s military chief of staff General Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili to discuss the prospects for military cooperation.
“Gen Bajwa was received by Saudi Arabia’s Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Fayyad Al-Ruwaili,” Geo News quoted Ministry of Defense Saudi Arabia.
According to the statement, “During the meeting, prospects for military cooperation and ways to support and boost it were reviewed, in addition to matters of common concern.”
The meeting comes after the decade-long friendship between both countries took a sharp turn when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi issued a blunt warning to Saudi Arabia after the latter refused to act against India over 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 Organization 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 allowed himself to be swayed by emotions to cross the line when he said “Today Pakistan is, 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.”
Saudi Arabia was not the only country Qureshi was upset with. He also expressed his consternation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for not having supported Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
As a 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.