Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will soon travel to Saudi Arabia, a senior military official said on Thursday, confirming the visit that is seen as an effort by the Imran Khan government to mend ties with the kingdom is on the cards.
Major General Babar Iftikhar, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s military, insisted that Gen Bajwa’s visit was a pre-planned tour linked to “military-to-military relations” between the two countries.
“There is no need to read too much into it,” he told reporters at his briefing, describing relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as “historic, important and good”. “Nobody can doubt the centrality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to islamic world,” the military spokesperson said in response to a question. A Reuters report quoting military officials said the visit will take place this weekend but there was no independent confirmation from Riyadh.
The visit is widely seen as an effort by Islamabad to repair ties with Saudi Arabia that has been upset at the Imran Khan government badgering Riyadh to convene a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Conference to target India over Kashmir.
Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi crossed the red line last week when he asked OIC to “stop dilly-dallying” and set a deadline for the Saudi-led grouping of 57 Islamic countries. “If you cannot convene it, then I