Pakistan PM Imran Khan to Skip Kuala Lumpur Summit After Saudi Arabia Visit


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has cancelled his scheduled visit to Malaysia and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be representing Pakistan in his place at the Kuala Lumpur Summit scheduled for December 18-20.

Among the most notable Muslim leaders who are expected to attend the summit include Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Media reports quoting sources stated that the premier has cancelled the visit following his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia raised serious concerns over the statement of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad who had recently said that the Muslim countries at Kuala Lumpur Summit would form a new platform to replace the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which he said had failed to deliver the goods on issues faced by the Muslims across the world,” sources were quoted as saying.

Sources also said that Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain are perturbed over the expected presence of Qatari emir, Turkish president and Iranian president at the summit and fear a new but parallel leadership forum is being developed to undermine Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Sources further said that the UAE has also raised its concerns over Mahathir’s statement and has requested Pakistan to avoid the Kuala Lumpur Summit which may trigger a new controversy among the Muslim Ummah.

“PM Imran was also conveyed concerns by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa over the intentions of the Kuala Lumpur Summit. The premier assured the royals of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that he would not be a partof any scheme being planned to undermine the Gulf leadership,” sources were quoted as saying.

They said that Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had raised his concerns with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa two days ago on December 14.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said decision about Imran Khan’s visit to Malaysia to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit will be taken according to national interest.

She noted that after his Bahrain visit, the prime minister will go to Geneva and then return Pakistan on Wednesday and then a decision would be taken regarding his Malaysia visit.

There were reports that the prime minister would be attending the upcoming summit from December 19 to 21. It is pertinent that the summit was finalised during a trilateral meeting involving Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia in September in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.

Among others, the summit will be attended by leaders of Turkey, Qatar and Iran besides, Malaysia playing the host.


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