The ties between traditional allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are under immense pressure after Islamabad has started to engage vigorously with Riyadh’s traditional foes and also attending the KL summit which is seen as an alternative to the OIC.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 which many experts see as an alternative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which has been timid in criticizing the so-called Indian annexation of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states and comprising 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries. The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union and led by the Arab block. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly upset with the event being hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad which is expected to be attended by leaders from Turkey, Iran, Qatar, Indonesia and Pakistan.
The absence of Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies at the meeting, to be convened from Dec 18 to 21, and the presence of KSA’s arch-foes – Turkey, Qatar and Iran have really upset the Arab block as the KL summit is seen as an alternative to the OIC led by Saudi Arabia.
The Malaysian PM had earlier stated that the Kuala Lumpur summit offers an alternative to the OIC, which many critics states has failed to protect Islamic perspective in the global arena.
With rising tensions with the Arab block, there have been a series of visits by the Pakistani civil and military leadership to Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies to ease the tensions.
Within days of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to Riyadh, PM Khan quickly arranged a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. This was his fourth visit to the kingdom since May but it came in view of the concerns expressed by Saudi Arabia over Pakistan’s acceptance of the Kuala Lumpur summit invite.
While PM Khan was in Riyadh, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in what appears to be a coordinated move to assuage the apprehensions of the Arab leaders regarding the Malaysia gathering.
Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has rubbished claims of disagreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and said the Imran Khan government has actually enhanced ties with the Kingdom.
Talking to a private news channel, Qureshi said the elements seeking to destroy the Muslim world are building such perceptions.
To a question about the perception of Kuala Lumpur Summit being raised as a parallel platform or against the OIC, Qureshi said it is not being held for the first time, rather Mahathir Muhammad had already organized such sessions as his private initiative before assuming the office of the Malaysian Prime Minister.
He said Mahathir Mohammed has 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.
Qureshi said such perceptions are being designed and fanned by the elements who have reservations over the Muslim countries joining heads to discuss their socio-economic development and exploit their potential in the fields of skills and technology.