By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with Saudi king and crown prince in Jeddah to discuss the current crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, following India’s scrapping of the region’s longstanding special rights last month.
Khan, who arrived in Jeddah earlier Thursday on a two-day visit ahead of the United nations General Assembly session in New York next week, apprised the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of the “latest developments” in Jammu and Kashmir, a statement from the Prime Minister Office said.
Khan’s trip came weeks after Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir together with the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Pakistan in an attempt to stem Islamabad’s anger over their mild reaction to India’s controversial Kashmir move.
The UAE’s move to bestow its highest civilian award to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi almost coincided with New Delhi’s clampdown in Kashmir, drawing anger from Islamabad.
The premier also condemned the recent drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which knocked out more than half a crude output from the world’s largest exporter.
Khan assured Salman that his country would stand beside Riyadh in case of any threat to its security, the statement said.
The Saudi king reiterated Riyadh's longtime support and solidarity with Kashmiris, it added.
The leadership of both countries also discussed ways to strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also attended the meeting.
- 'International issue'
Addressing the Pakistani community in Jeddah, the prime minister said his main objective to visit Saudi Arabia ahead of the UN General Assembly session was to apprise him of situation in the disputed valley.
“Kashmir has become an international issue, and the whole world has recognized our narrative [on Kashmir]’, he said, adding that he would raise the issue at the general assembly.
Already frosty relations between the two South Asian nuclear rivals have touched a new low after India scrapped the special provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5.
Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.
Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 93% of the region.
From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws.
The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.