Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has strongly rejected an impression about the breakdown of relations with Saudi Arabia, saying the relations are “long-standing” and “people-centric”.
Speaking at a media conference at the Foreign Office, Mr. Qureshi said the relationship between the two countries was strong and would continue to remain so. He especially recalled the commonality of the positions of the two countries on Kashmir and Palestine disputes.
There has been a visible change in the tone of the Foreign Office since Gen Bajwa’s visit. Praise for OIC’s role on Kashmir, especially its resolutions and meetings of the contact group on Kashmir, is quite pronounced. There is no more mention of Pakistan’s desire for a meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC member states.
“We are discussing various proposals about how to take the Kashmir issue forward [at OIC],” Mr. Qureshi, who had on Aug 5 threatened in his TV comments to convene a meeting of Muslim countries outside the OIC, said while emphasizing that neither the OIC’s position on Kashmir had any ambiguity nor had the Saudi position on the dispute changed.
The minister did not make any direct reference to his earlier comments, but at one point clarified that it was normal to have expectations in relationships. “Since Pak-Saudi ties are strong, people have expectations from them on Kashmir, which they keep expressing,” he maintained.