Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that Saudi Arabia would always be a friend of Pakistan despite the government’s recent criticism of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over the Kashmir issue.

“Yes, we want OIC to play a bigger role [in the Kashmir issue]. But let me make it clear: Saudi Arabia will always be a friend of Pakistan,” he said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera news.

The Foreign Office (FO) had defended these remarks, saying Qureshi’s statement was a reflection of the people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to raise the Kashmir issue internationally.

When asked about the lack of international support on the issue in today’s interview, the premier replied that Kashmir was a disputed territory between Pakistan and India.

“This disputed territory was taken over by India on August 5, last year by brute force,” he said, adding that Pakistan had “knocked on all doors” and would continue doing so.

The prime minister was responding to a question about Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s unusually sharp warning in August asking the OIC to stop dilly-dallying on convening a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir.

In an interview with a private news channel, Qureshi had said if the kingdom failed to summon the meeting, Pakistan would be ready to go for a session outside the OIC.The Foreign Office (FO) had defended these remarks, saying Qureshi’s statement was a reflection of the people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to raise the Kashmir issue internationally.When asked about the lack of international support on the issue in today’s interview, the premier replied that Kashmir was a disputed territory between Pakistan and India.”This disputed territory was taken over by India on August 5, last year by brute force,” he said, adding that Pakistan had “knocked on all doors” and would continue doing so.

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