Saudi foreign minister to visit Pakistan with Crown Prince ‘special message’

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Amid increasing tension between India and Pakistan, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, is expected to visit Pakistan with a special message from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

Speaking to television station Geo TV, Qureshi also said Pakistan would be prepared to return the Indian pilot shot down and captured this week if it helped ease the crisis with its neighbor. “We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation,” Qureshi was quoted as saying.

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Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire briefly along the contested border in Kashmir on Thursday morning, a day after the two nuclear powers both downed enemy jets, with Pakistan capturing an Indian pilot.

The United States, China and other world powers have urged restraint from the two nations as tensions escalate following tit-for-tat airstrikes in the wake of a suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Feb. 14.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited both Pakistan and India earlier this month. An AP report quoted Qureshi as saying that he spoke to al-Jubeir on the phone the previous night. He did not give further details.

Al-Jubeir will arrive in Islamabad on his special plane even though Pakistan has temporarily closed its air space to all civilian traffic amid tensions with India.

(With Agencies)