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Saudi, UAE FMs concerned over IHK situation

Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan’s deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in IHK because of the month-long complete lockdown and communications blackout in the territory. The prime minister underscored that India’s actions are a clear violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and international law.

September 05, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a significant meeting with visiting Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan here on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasised Pakistan’s deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) due to month-long complete lockdown and communications blackout in the territory.

He urged the international community to pressurise India to halt and reverse its illegal actions and aggressive policies and postures in IHK. The ministers representing two close brotherly Muslim counties dashed to Islamabad in one aircraft on Wednesday afternoon from Abu Dhabi and had meetings with Prime Minister Imran, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi separately.

The diplomatic efforts at the higher echelon are now hectically underway to defuse the tension in the area that could trigger a nuclear conflict if not checked. The visiting ministers held talks in the Foreign Office.

Talking to the visiting dignitaries at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan’s deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in IHK because of the month-long complete lockdown and communications blackout in the territory. The prime minister underscored that India’s actions are a clear violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and international law.

The prime minister earlier in recent days had telephonic discussions with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and Crown Prince of the UAE and Deputy Supreme Commander of Armed Forces Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan after the grave developments in IHK. The prime minister reminded that there was a genuine fear of a false flag operation to divert the world’s attention from India’s illegal actions and intensified repression of Kashmiris. He said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have an important role in this regard.

The visiting dignitaries said they were visiting Pakistan at the direction of their leadership. They reaffirmed the strategic significance of the relationship of KSA and UAE with Pakistan. They also acknowledged Pakistan’s role and efforts in promoting and maintaining regional peace and stability. Both countries would remain engaged to help address the current challenges, defuse tensions, and promote an environment of peace and security.

The Arab ministers were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the airport. The discussions between the visiting dignitaries and Pakistani leadership were focused on the humanitarian crisis in IHK and escalating tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi.

In a series of tweets early on Wednesday morning, FM Qureshi said the “humanitarian crisis unfolding [in IHK] has caught the world’s attention” and the visiting ministers were coming to Pakistan “to discuss this grave situation”.

Al-Jubeir earlier paid a daylong visit to Islamabad in March as part of Riyadh’s efforts to seek de-escalation in tensions between Pakistan and India. He had met PM Imran, FM Qureshi and army chief General Bajwa to convey an ‘important message’ from Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to Pakistan’s civil and military leadership.

On Tuesday, PM Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and apprised the royal on the current situation in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

Imran Khan has made contact with MBS multiple times since then and called the Saudi crown prince last week too, after US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France. The visits have come at a time when tensions between Pakistan and India are high following India’s decision to strip the IHK of its special status. Pakistan has been making diplomatic efforts to direct the world's attention towards the Kashmir issue by reaching out to international bodies and allies.

During a press conference held after the ministers’ meeting with the premier, Qureshi said: "There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia and UAE are standing with us. We are hopeful that both countries will not disappoint us. The ministers of both countries have listened to our stance on the situation." Qureshi told the media that a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir will be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which will be held later this month.