File photo of Pakistan's Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has canceled his scheduled visit to Malaysia under pressure from Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has canceled his scheduled visit to Malaysia under pressure from Saudi Arabia, diplomatic sources told Geo News on Tuesday.
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Sources said that the Prime Minister has apprised his Malaysian counterpart over his non-availability for the summit.
Earlier, it was reported that Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was expected to represent his country at the summit instead of Khan. But the diplomat has also canceled his visit to the South Asian country.
The development comes after a meeting between Khan with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Riyadh on Saturday wherein matters related to bilateral relations were discussed.
According to media reports Saudi Arabia has not been extended an invitation to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit starting tomorrow.
The News International reported that Saudi Arabia had raised serious concerns over the Malaysian prime minister's statement where he had said the Muslim countries at Kuala Lumpur Summit would form a new platform to replace the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which "had failed to deliver the goods on issues faced by the Muslims across the world."
It is worth noting that the OIC is headed by Saudi Arabia.
Sources further said that Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain were perturbed over the expected presence of Qatari emir, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the summit and fear a new but parallel leadership forum is being developed to undermine Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan while speaking to the media on Monday had said decision regarding PM Imran's visit to Malaysia would be taken keeping in mind the national interest.
The summit is expected to be an important gathering of the Muslim leaders with a shared agenda related to the Muslim world and its collective challenges in a highly interconnected world.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal, during his weekly briefing, had said that the summit would provide Pakistan an opportunity to explain views and find solutions to the challenges facing the Muslim world particularly governance, development, terrorism, and Islamophobia.