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PM Imran regrets missing out on Kuala Lumpur summit

Prime Minister Imran Khan has regretted that he could not attend a summit of some Islamic countries convened in Malaysia’s capital late last year because some close friends of Pakistan “somehow felt the conference was going to divide the Muslim Ummah”.

Premier Imran was scheduled to attend the four-day conference – dubbed the Kuala Lumpur Summit – which was organised by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to discuss the most pressing issues confronting the Ummah.

But he pulled out at the eleventh hour under pressure from Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies.

Riyadh and its allies stayed away from the summit, which was attended by Iran, Turkey and Qatar – all rivals of Saudi Arabia, because it was being held outside the banner of the Jeddah-based 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The OIC said such meetings not only weaken the bloc, it also weakens Islam.

“I want to say how sad I was that I could not attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of December,” Prime Minister Imran said while speaking at a joint media briefing with his Malaysian counterpart after their bilateral talks at the Prime Minister Office in Putrajaya.

“Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow the conference was going to divide the Ummah.

It was clearly a misconception because that was not the purpose of the conference as evident from when the conference took place,” he added.

It became clear later that the purpose of the summit was not to divide the Ummah, he said, standing next to Dr Mahathir, who said he had shared with Prime Minister Imran the outcome of Kuala Lumpur Summit, 2019.

Asked if skipping the summit had any impact on Pakistan’s relations with other Muslim states, Imran replied in a firm “no”, saying that it did not “affect [Pakistan’s] relations with other Muslim countries”.

He stressed the need for the Muslim countries to educate the Western and other non-Muslim countries on misunderstandings about Islam.

A joint media by Muslim state — something on which work was under way — would not only project a positive image of Islam, but would also develop content for the young Muslim generation about the great religion.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mahathir said he was committed to collaborating more closely on the issues affecting the Ummah. He also spoke about the areas of further bilateral collaboration, particularly trade, investment, defence, law enforcement, tourism and education.

Premier Imran earlier held one-on-one talks with Dr Mahathir before the delegation level meeting in Putrajaya. Both sides agreed to explore trade and investment potential of their countries for a relationship based on strong economic cooperation.

They also discussed the joint venture between Malaysia’s Proton Holdings and Pakistan’s Al-Haj Automotive that add value with the commencement of selling Malaysian-made Proton vehicles (CBU) in Pakistan in the second half of 2020, and eventually, assembly and sale of Pakistan-made Proton vehicles (CKD) in Pakistan in the first half of 2021. The Malaysian-based corporation, Proton was established in 1983 and has so far sold more than 3 million cars. Proton cars are sold in more than 25 countries including Britain, Singapore and Australia.

Meanwhile, both the leaders also have also agreed that the strategic partnership status is a testament to the new level of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields, reported APP, Pakistan’s official news agency.,.

According to a joint statement issued on Wednesday on the conclusion of Prime Minister Khan’s two-day official visit to Malaysia, the Malaysian prime minister recognised the essential role of the Pakistan Prime Minister in ensuring peace and security in the South Asian and West Asian regions through his goodwill diplomatic efforts towards the maintenance of international peace and security.


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