ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Wednesday won support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the Kashmir issue as their top diplomats backed Islamabad’s stance on the dispute with India.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had arrived in Islamabad earlier in the day for a brief official visit.

During the visit, they met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, focusing on the Kashmir issue.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told journalists that Saudi Arabia and the UAE stand by Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

Later, a statement issued by the foreign ministry after the meetings said: “The visiting Ministers underlined the strong bonds of Saudi Arabia and UAE with Pakistan and the strategic salience of their relationships with Pakistan. They reaffirmed their strong support and solidarity with the people of Pakistan. With regard to the situation in held Kashmir, the Ministers took full cognizance of Pakistan’s perspective. It was agreed to work closely in OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and other fora.”

Qureshi said: “We are sure they (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) won’t disappoint us. I brought home to the ministers the crisis in India-held Jammu and Kashmir. They listened to our standpoint.”

He said the meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir issue will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session scheduled later this month.

He said Saudi Arabia and the UAE want the OIC to play a prominent role with regard to Kashmir issue. “Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s support is vital for convening a formal meeting of the OIC,” he added.

Qureshi said he had briefed the two counterparts on the massive human rights violations in Kashmir. “The Indian step (to merge Kashmir into its union) is illegal and the world supports our point of view,” he maintained.

The foreign ministry statement said in the main meeting with the FM “the situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir was the major focus.”

It said: “The Foreign Minister apprised the two dignitaries in detail on Pakistan’s concerns over the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Kashmir that has been exacerbated by India’s illegal and unilateral action of 5 August 2019.”

The Foreign Minister, it said, underlined that these actions were a clear violation of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, bilateral agreements – including Simla - and its own solemn commitments since they were aimed at changing the globally acknowledged disputed status of Kashmir and altering the occupied territory’s demographic structure and identity. “The Foreign Minister underscored that the indefensible lockdown and curfew in the occupied territory have entered its fifth week, subjecting 9 million Kashmiris to unspeakable suffering. Apart from these illegal actions, India’s ceasefire violations on the Line of Control have intensified. To divert world’s attention from the reign of terror unleashed against the Kashmiri people, there was possibility of India staging a false flag operation,” the statement said.

Qureshi noted that cumulatively these Indian actions and postures have the real potential to seriously imperil peace and security of the region. At this particular time, the people of Pakistan and the Kashmiris expected strong support from the Muslim world.

“In this context, it was very important to give a clear and unambiguous signal of support and solidarity with the Kashmiri people,” the statement said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had made a telephonic contact with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and apprised him on the present circumstances in occupied Kashmir. This was the third telephonic contact between Imran Khan and Mohammed bin Salman in two weeks.

Last month, PM Khan successfully appealed for a UN Security Council meeting but no conclusion was drawn at the meeting. India has maintained that the Kashmir constitutional change was an internal matter and that the region was gradually heading to normal situations after a clampdown which began on August 5.

Telephone lines, internet services were cut while a curfew was implemented with troops securing the area. Leaders were detained from leaving or entering the region. As recently as last week, Indian lawmaker and former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and a delegation were sent back from Srinagar to Delhi, with authorities citing reasons of ‘maintaining peace and normalcy.’

Pakistan had also sought support Iran over the issue. Qureshi called Javad Zarif, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, last day to apprise him of the latest situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The Foreign Minister briefed his Iranian counterpart on the illegal and unilateral actions of India to alter the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign ministry said.

Tehran has already supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue and urged India to resolve the dispute peacefully.