ISLAMABAD: The prime minister himself has canceled his scheduled visit to Malaysia and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be representing Pakistan in place of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Kuala Lumpur Summit scheduled for December 18-20, The News reported.
The notable Muslim leaders who are expected at the summit include Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
According to The News, media reports quoting sources stated that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has cancelled the visit following his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Riyadh.
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According to The News, sources were quoted as saying, “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 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, The News reported.
According to the sources, the UAE has also raised its concerns over Mahathir’s statement and has requested Pakistan to avoid the Kuala Lumpur Summit that may trigger a new controversy amongst the Muslim Ummah.
According to The News, sources were quoted as saying, “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.”
As per sources, UAE’s Emir 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.
“The decision about PM Imran Khan’s visit to Malaysia to participate in Kuala Lumpur Summit will be taken keeping in mind the national interest,” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said.
Dr Awan noted, “the prime minister will go to Geneva and then return to Pakistan on Wednesday and then a decision would be taken about his Malaysian visit.”
According to The News, 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, The News reported.