Imran meets Saudi royals to discuss Kashmir lockdown


–PM assures Saudis of support after drone strikes on Saudi oil installations

–Imran meets Pakistani community in KSA, says he will underscore Kashmiris’ woes at UNGA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday separately called on Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to discuss “grave situation” in Indian occupied Kashmir in the wake of the abrogation of its special status, leading to escalated tensions between two neighbouring countries.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the PM, who is on a two-day visit to the Kingdom, apprised the crown prince of the latest developments in Kashmir and also expressed solidarity with the prince over drone strikes on Saudi oil installations.

The strikes were said to involve at least 20 drones and several cruise missiles and forced Saudi Arabia to shut down half its oil production capacity, or 5.7 million barrels per day of crude — 5% of the world’s global daily oil production.

The leadership of both countries also discussed ways to strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the PMO statement said.

The visit to the Kingdom came after Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Ahmed Al Jubeir visited Islamabad as a result of direct telephone calls by the premier to the crown princes of the two countries.

The PM has been in “regular contact” with the Saudi crown prince over the Kashmir issue, part of his efforts to highlight Kashmir issue internationally.

He will also underscore the Kashmir crackdown at the United National General Assembly (UNGA) platform during his visit to New York by the end of this month.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz.

In an address to the Pakistani community, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the people of Kashmir were passing through a critical situation and that he would raise the issue “forcefully” at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

The prime minister said Kashmir has become an international issue and the entire world has “accepted Pakistani narrative” on the issue, said a statement issued by the PM Office here said.

The prime minister said Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah perceived that the Muslims in India would not get their rights and that was why he opted for an independent country for the Muslims of sub-continent.

He said the Kashmir had become a global issue and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had also supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir dispute.

The prime minister informed the overseas Pakistani community that the government inherited a debt-ridden economy, but it was working on reforms to fix the economy.





The Indian government has continued the shutdown of internet and mobile phone services, while simultaneously banning public meetings and imposing restrictions on freedom of movement since August 5.

HRW’s latest report, India: Free Kashmiris Arbitrarily Detained, documents the detention of over 4,000 Kashmiris, including politicians, activists, separatist leaders, lawyers, and journalists, who have been held in detention camps since Aug 5.

Approximately 400 elected officials and political leaders, as well as former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir belonging to the National Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party have also been detained.

The clampdown has badly affected the trade between Jammu region and Kashmir Valley with manufacturers and traders unable to recover payments. An estimated financial loss of around Rs 500 crore has already been suffered by industries in Jammu as they are not receiving orders nor are able to recover payments from the Valley and other districts.

The restrictions have also adversely affected the tourism industry, one of the main sources of livelihood, in the occupied territory. Empty houseboats, vacant hotels, and deserted resorts present a gloomy picture of Kashmir’s tourism sector.