Pakistan withdraws to attend Kuala Lumpur Islamic Conference in Malaysian capital because of Saudi pressure.
According to sources, Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and informed him of his decision not to attend the KL Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
“Dr Mahathir appreciates Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to inform of his inability to attend the summit where the Pakistani leader was expected to speak and share his thoughts on the state of affairs of the Islamic world.
However, yesterday, there was no confirmation either from the foreign ministry or the close aides of the Prime Minister regarding his visit to Malaysia.
On the condition of anonymity the close aides of the PM said Imran Khan did not want to annoy Saudi Arabia who leads the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Saudi leaders ostensibly told Imran Khan not to ‘divide’ the OIC when he visited the Kingdom last day.
Foreign Minister Qureshi later said there was no misunderstanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia rather the incumbent government had removed the ones created in the past. He said the elements desiring to disintegrate the Muslim world are creating such perceptions.
The summit, beginning on Dec. 18 and continuing through Dec. 21, would be attended by over 400 Muslim leaders, intellectuals, scholars and thinkers from 52 countries. The Malaysian statement states that one of its goals is to combat the oppression faced by the Ummah globally, with special reference to Islamophobia and illegal detention camps. P.M. Khan has repeatedly cited rehabilitating the image of the Ummah a personal mission, making his decision to skip the Summit even more curious.
Just a few short months ago, in September, Khan had met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in which he had expressed a desire to work with both nations to improve the image of Muslims globally. Even as recently as last week, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government was taking pains to present the Summit as a major force for good.
It should be noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan is currently in Geneva, Switzerland, where he jointly presided over the World Refugee Forum Summit.