Nadeem Baber, an advisor to the Pakistani prime minister in charge of oil affairs, denied that Saudi Arabia refused to renew the oil grant to his country, while the Pakistani army chief is expected to visit Saudi Arabia next Sunday in light of a crisis in relations between the two countries.
Baber said that Pakistan asked Saudi Arabia to renew the grant, which amounted to three billion and 200 million dollars, but the latter has not yet responded, noting that the first year of the grant ended last May and that work is underway for renewal for the next two years.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia granted a $ 3 billion loan to Pakistan and a $ 3.2 billion oil credit facility to help it overcome the balance of payments crisis.
The army chief’s visit to Saudi Arabia
In the same context, officials said that the Pakistani army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, will visit Saudi Arabia days later, seeking to calm diplomatic tension over the Kashmir region at a time when Saudi financial support for Islamabad is on the line.
Although relations between the two countries are usually strong, senior military officials told Reuters that Riyadh was upset by Pakistan’s criticism of Saudi Arabia’s lukewarm response to the disputed Kashmir region, which prompted General Bajwa to arrange a visit on Sunday to rebuild bridges between the two countries.
"Yes, he will travel," Pakistani army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told Reuters, but described the visit as being pre-planned and its "primary goal is military affairs."
Saudi Arabia’s failure to support Kashmir
The Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told local media last week, after the reluctance of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, led by Saudi Arabia, to hold a high-level meeting on Kashmir, “If they are unable to hold it, I will be obligated to request the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Calling a meeting for Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the Kashmir issue and support the oppressed Kashmiris. "
Qureshi’s statements renewed Riyadh’s anger at previous Pakistani positions related to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, according to a Pakistani military official and government advisor.