In what seems to be a major humiliation for Pakistan, one of its close allies – Saudi Arabia has turned its back on the country after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman refused to meet Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who has flown to Riyadh to repair ties with Saudi Arabia.
According to the reports, Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa along with the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz Hameed, is on a trip to Saudi Arabia amidst strained ties between the two countries. However, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has returned empty-handed to Islamabad after Saudi Crown Prince decided to snub him.
Failing to secure a meet with Prince Salman, Bajwa finally met Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and Saudi Arabia’s military chief of staff General Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili. It is reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman intentionally snubbed Pakistan after Imran Khan-led government had threatened Saudi Arabia over its growing close ties with India.
Saudi did not ‘honour’ Bajwa
Addition to the snub, the Riyadh administration also cancelled to honour Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had announced that it would honour General Bajwa.
The Pakistan Army Chief’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes after a sharp turn in ties between the countries after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had warned Saudi Arabia over latter’s refusal to act against India over Kashmir issue.
Pakistan Minister warned Saudi Arabia
Following the first anniversary of revocation of Article 370 by India, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had attacked Saudi Arabia 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.
In an interview, Qureshi had warned that if the OIC failed to meet Pakistan’s expectations, he would be “compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris”.
The remarks made by Qureshi, who had threatened to split OIC, had angered Riyadh’s anger, who then had forced Pakistan to pay back USD 1bn prematurely and is demanding another USD 1bn of the loan.
The diplomatic blunder by Imran Khan has now resulted in deterioration of ties with Saudi, which has proved expensive for Pakistan. However, the Pakistan Miltary is desperate to improve the relationship with the Saudis.