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Pakistan FM Qureshi's remarks on Saudi Arabia triggers criticism within

Pakistan FM Qureshi's remarks on Saudi Arabia triggers criticism within

| @indiablooms | 11 Aug 2020, 02:20 pm

Islamabad:  Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s comment against Saudi Arabia after Riyadh refused to interfere on Kashmir issue has earned criticisms within the country.

Qureshi made the remark at a time when Saudi Arabia has not renewed an agreement with Pakistan which will allow oil supplies on deferred payments after that pact expired two months back.

Meanwhile, criticising Qureshi, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif tweeted: "FM’s statement about brotherly Saudi Arabia is highly unfortunate & irresponsible. It flies in the face of history of our special & trusted relationship with the Kingdom. The cavalier attitude by this govt is undermining Pakistan's core relations with friendly countries!"

Saudi Arabia has not renewed an agreement with Pakistan which will allow oil supplies on deferred payments after that pact expired two months back, media reports said.

An agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for provision of $3.2 billion worth of oil on deferred payments per annum has expired two months ago and decision about its renewal remains pending with Riyadh, sources told The Express Tribune.

The $3.2 billion Saudi oil facility was part of the $6.2-billion Saudi Arabian package announced in November 2018 to ease Pakistan’s external sector woes. Pakistan has already prematurely returned $1 billion Saudi loan - four months ahead of its repayment period, reported the newspaper.

Sources told the newspaper that Pakistan could also return $2 billion remaining Saudi cash loan, subject to availability of similar facilities from China.

The agreement over $3 billion cash support and $3.2 billion oil facility per annum had the provision of renewal for two more years.

The sources said that Saudi Arabia has not provided the oil on deferred payments since May this year. The budget estimates suggested that the government was hoping to receive minimum $1 billion worth of oil in fiscal year 2020-21, which started from July.

Qureshi remark:

Appearing in a talk show on ARY News, the foreign minister had said that Pakistan expected the organisation to convene the meeting, reports Dawn News.

"If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”

Qureshi had said that if they failed to summon the meeting, Pakistan would be ready to go for a session outside the OIC. In response to another question, he had said Pakistan could not wait any further.

The foreign minister had added that Pakistan had skipped Kuala Lumpur Summit last December on Saudi Arabia's request and now Pakistani Muslims were demanding Riyadh “show leadership on the issue”.

“We have our own sensitivities. You have to realise this. Gulf countries should understand this,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying by the newspaper, adding that he could no more indulge in diplomatic niceties.

However, he had made it clear that he was not being emotional and fully understood the implications of his statement. “It’s right, I’m taking a position despite our good ties with Saudi Arabia.

“We cannot stay silent anymore on the sufferings of the Kashmiris,” he had said.

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