Saudi Foreign Minister to Visit Pakistan Amid Indo-Pak Tensions Over Jammu and Kashmir

Islamabad/Jeddah: Saudi Arabia's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir will visit Pakistan on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the region with the top Pakistani leadership, amidst fresh Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir.

The Saudi minister will stay in Islamabad for a day and hold meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Geo News reported on Tuesday.

The Saudi minister's visit comes in the midst of spiralling tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi withdrew Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.

A statement issued by the Saudi embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday said that matters relating to bilateral relations between the two countries will also be discussed in the meetings. Saudi Arabia is a close ally of cash-strapped Pakistan and Riyadh has provided aid worth billions of dollars to Islamabad to overcome its financial woes.

The news of the Saudi minister's visit came after Prime Minister Khan telephoned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed the situation in Kashmir, the report said. The two leaders earlier spoke about the situation in the region in a phone call on August 27, where they discussed the development of the situation in the region and efforts exerted towards it.

The latest phone call was the third between the prime minister and the Saudi crown prince in three weeks. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that Prime Minister Khan called Saudi Crown Prince Salman.

"During the call, they reviewed relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the region," it said.

Pakistan, which has downgraded its diplomatic ties with India, has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora. Pakistan prime minister Khan has been repeatedly warning the possibility of a military confrontation between the two nuclear armed neighbours over the Kashmir issue.

Asserting that abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making "irresponsible statements" and provocative anti-India rhetoric over issues internal to it.