Byline: SHAFQAT ALI
ISLAMABAD -- Prime Minister Imran Khan is unlikely to attend the Malaysia-led Kuala Lumpur summit this week amid reservation by key ally Saudi Arabia.
Senior government officials told The Nation that a final decision was yet to be taken but PM Khan will 'most probably' not attend the summit in Malaysia.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is expected to represent Pakistan in the absence of Prime Minister who flies to Geneva today (December 17) to attend the first-ever Global Refugee Forum commencing.
The foreign ministry had earlier announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan will participate in the 'Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019' due to take place in Malaysia from December 18 to 21 on the invitation of his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said the Kuala Lumpur Summit was an initiative of the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad together with the participation of leaders, scholars and intellectuals. It is a platform to exchange views on the current challenges and to work together to address them.
FM Qureshi may represent Pakistan
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.
About the perception of Kuala Lumpur Summit being raised as a parallel platform or against the OIC, he said it was not being held for the first time, rather Mahathir Muhammad had already organised such four sessions as his private initiative before assuming the office of the Malaysian Prime Minister.
He said that Mahathir Mohammed had sent his Foreign Minister to Saudi Arabia to extend a formal invitation for the summit considering it a very vital member of the Muslim world.
He said such perceptions were being created and fanned by the elements who have reservations over the Muslim countries joining heads to discuss their socioeconomic development and exploit their...