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Pakistan’s PM Khan plays down differences with ally Saudi Arabia | News

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has played down differences with longtime ally Saudi Arabia after his army chief visited Riyadh in a bid to ease a dispute over policy towards the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The dispute, brought on by Pakistani demands for Saudi Arabia to take a firmer line against India for what Pakistan says is its human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir, has threatened Riyadh’s financial support for Islamabad.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had no differences, Khan said in a late Tuesday interview, backing away from criticism by his foreign minister this month who suggested Saudi Arabia was indifferent on Kashmir.

“The rumours that our relations with Saudi Arabia have soured are totally false,” Khan said in the interview with the Dunya News television channel.

“Our relations are very good. We are constantly in touch.”

Army chief visits Riyadh

Pakistan’s army chief travelled to Saudi Arabia on Monday for a one-day visit that was “primarily military-affairs oriented”, the army said.

Pakistan’s army chief travelled to Saudi Arabia amid a disagreement between the two countries that has threatened Riyadh’s financial lifeline to Islamabad [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

But top military and government officials said the visit was aimed at calming the simmering standoff that could badly hurt cash-strapped Pakistan’s foreign reserves.

Our relations are very good. We are constantly in touch.

Imran Khan, Pakistan prime minister

Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3bn loan and $3.2bn oil credit facility to help its balance of payments crisis in late 2018.

Pakistan’s demands for Saudi Arabia to support it against India over Kashmir led to Saudi Arabia forcing Pakistan to pay back $1bn early, military and finance ministry officials have told the Reuters news agency.

Saudi Arabia is also demanding repayment of another $1bn of the loan and has not responded to Pakistani requests to extend the oil facility, they said.

Saudi anger

The Saudi government has not commented on the matter.

The Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) has only held low-level meetings on Kashmir, to the frustration of some who want to see a more robust position.

“On the Kashmir issue, there is a view that OIC should have stepped forward,” Khan said.

“Saudi has its own foreign policy. We shouldn’t think that because we want something Saudi will do just that,” he added.

Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sought a meeting of the OIC.

“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’s remarks revived Riyadh’s anger, one of the Pakistani military officials and a government adviser earlier told Reuters.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia does not want to risk its business interests in India by supporting Pakistan over Kashmir.

Pakistan and India both claim the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir in full but rule it in part.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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