Putrajaya - Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday expressed his regret on being unable to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit, held in Malaysia in December last year, saying there was a misconception among some countries that the conference would divide the Ummah.

Addressing a joint press conference following talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya, Prime Minister Imran said: “I want to say how sad I was that I couldn’t attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of December.

“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.”

In December last, Prime Minister Imran had pulled out of the Kuala Lumpur Summit of some 20 Muslim countries reportedly due to pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia. At the time, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had confirmed that Riyadh and the UAE had concerns about the summit.

The premier said he was “looking forward” to attending the conference because he felt that it was important that Muslim countries educate the West and other non-Muslim countries about Islam.

“All these misunderstandings, whether they are deliberate or whether they are by ignorance, [...] it is important that we the Muslim countries, educate them about the real message of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“I also felt that we need a media, which we are working on, some sort of a joint effort that not only projects this [...] but also develop content for our young people about what really Islam is.”

He reiterated his regret at being unable to attend the conference.

Responding to a question about whether he would attend the KL Summit next year, Prime Minister Imran said: “Of course I would because now it is evident that the KL Summit was not to divide the Ummah [...] If anything it was to unite the Ummah, so of course I would love to come.”

In response to another question, the premier said the decision not to attend the summit had not affected Pakistan’s relations with other Muslim nations.

In response to a question about getting Pakistan to buy more palm oil from Malaysia, the Malaysian prime minister said that the two had discussed the sale of palm oil.

“I think Pakistan is quite ready to import more palm oil from Malaysia,” he said.

“That’s right, especially since we noticed that India threatened to cut Malaysia’s palm oil imports for supporting the Kashmir cause, Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” Prime Minister Imran added.

India has put general restrictions on refined palm oil imports and informally asked traders specifically to stop buying from Malaysia, the world’s second-biggest producer and exporter of the edible oil, in retaliation for Malaysia’s accusation that recent Indian policies discriminate against Muslims.

The premier also addressed an event organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies of Malaysia.

During his address, the premier said that Pakistan was meant to emulate the Riasat-i-Madina but had lost its way.

“We want far away from that ideal and if you ask me why Pakistan could not achieve its great God given potential, it’s because of this fact.

“Nations without visions eventually die.

My vision is to go back to the reason why Pakistan was made,” he said.

Responding to a question at the session, the prime minister recalled that one of his first actions after being elected into power was extending a hand of friendship to India.

“I said this for one reason, and that one reason is that the greatest number of poor people live in the Indian subcontinent.

“The best way we can reduce poverty is when the two countries start having [a] good relationship [and] start trading with each other.”

He went on to add: “And I repeat, that the reason we kept getting rebuffed by India again and again was not for practical reasons. It was because India has been taken over by an extremist ideology and time will tell people who don’t understand. What is happening in India right now is terrible for Indians. It will divide India forever.”

The prime minister warned that the “Hindutva racial superior ideology” would exclude minorities in India.

“Once this ideology is out of the bottle, it’s very difficult to put it back in the bottle,” he said and added: “Let me just say, that I say it in sympathy [that] what is happening in India is the biggest disaster for India because this sort of ideology, fascist ideology, does not allow any other shades of opinion to prosper.”

He assured that Pakistan would be willing to develop friendly relations “whenever there is a government in India which believes in prosperity of the subcontinent, poverty alleviation”.

Talks between Prime Minister Imran and Prime Minister Mahathir were held earlier today.

Speaking at the press conference following the talks, Mahathir said: “We agree on the need for regular discussions to strengthen trade relations by removing barriers in key areas and addressing the bilateral goods imbalance.”

Imran thanked his Malaysian counterpart for the invitation to his country and said the trip was to further strengthen the ties between Pakistan and Malaysia, which he said, have traditionally been close.

“The object of the trip is to get even closer,” he said.

“We feel that there the future of trading ties, investment, of cooperation between Malaysia and Pakistan is tremendous,” the premier said, adding that there is a close affinity between the people of the two countries.

The premier specifically thanked Malaysia for the way the country had spoken about the situation in Kashmir.

      

Prime Minister Imran Khan said his vision for Pakistan was to bring people out of poverty and fight the mafia, involved in corruption.

Speaking at International Affairs Forum on ‘Vision for Regional Peace and Security’ at Malaysia’s Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, the prime minister said his government was making every effort to transform the country into a welfare state, based on principles of compassion and rule of law.

Imran Khan said numerous mafias in Pakistan, may it be political or those involved in price hike, did not want the country to make progress by exerting their undue use of power.

He said the reason why Pakistan could not achieve progress, despite its great God-given potential, was its journey without a proper vision. The nations without a vision, die as it is the key to keep them flourish and develop, he added.

Imran emphasised that he wanted to emulate the ideologies of Pakistan’s founding and ideological fathers including Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal who dreamt of a tolerant, just and welfare State of Medinah that embibed all modern principles of justice and compassion.

He said his government launched several welfare projects for the uplift of poor people including establishment of shelter homes.

Imran Khan mentioned terrorism and said religion had no linkage and pointed out that Muslims faced discriminatory treatment on basis on this misconception.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming the ongoing religious persecution of Muslims all over the world the ‘worst in human history’, said answer to the grave problem was a collective and firm voice by the Islamic countries.

“The only solution is that Muslims must come together on something like what is happening in Mayanmar and Kashmir, when someone is only being persecuted because of their religion,” the prime minister said.

He said, “We don’t want the Muslim Ummah to come together to fight, but to protect the interests like any other community does.”

The prime minister praised his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad for taking an open stance on Kashmir despite threats by India to cut off import of palm oil.  “A leader always has a belief system and an ideology, and that’s why we love and respect Mahathir,” he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Malaysia’s United Indigenous Party, Bersatu, on Tuesday for close cooperation between the ruling political parties of the two countries.

Chairmen of the parties, Imran Khan and Dr Mahathir Mohammed, witnessed the inking at a ceremony held in Seri Perdana, Putrajaya.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his capacity as Vice Chairman of PTI and Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia Yahya Marzuki as Secretary General of Bersatu signed the MoU.

Pakistan and Malaysia also signed a Treaty of Extradition as part of a cooperative law enforcement process between the two countries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Malaysian prime counterpart Mahathir Mohammed on Tuesday agreed to explore trade and investment potential of their countries for a relationship based on strong economic cooperation.