ISLAMABAD     -            The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday denied pressurising Pakistan to pull out from the Kuala Lumpur Summit.

In a rebuttal to some media reports, the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad in a statement denied Kingdom’s role in dissuading Pakistan to withdraw from the international moot represented by a number of Islamic countries.

“The Embassy confirms that the news promoted by some parties about alleged pressures exerted on Pakistan by the Kingdom to discourage it from participating in the mini-summit in Malaysia, are baseless and fake,” the statement said.

It further stressed that these “false reports are already denied by the nature of solid brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries, and their agreement on the importance of the unity of the Islamic nation, maintaining the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), mutual respect for their sovereignty and the independence of their decisions, which is a key feature of the well-established historical relations between them.”

The statement came a day after Turkish newspaper quoting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Pakistan had decided to pull out from the summit because of Saudi Arabia’s threats of economic sanctions. He said Pakistan had to comply with due to economic difficulties.

Pakistan had taken a belated decision and backed out of its earlier commitment to attend the summit that was hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad from December 18 to 21. The PM had taken decided to stay away from the summit after he, on last Saturday, concluded his one-day visit to Saudi Arabia. 

Earlier this week, the Foreign Office had confirmed that PM Imran Khan had cancelled his scheduled visit to Malaysia that was to start from December 18 and none of the Pakistani dignitaries would be attending the moot.

The media reports suggested that the kingdom had opposed the Kuala Lumpur Summit on the grounds that perhaps it was undermining the bigger Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Foreign Office in response said that Pakistan decided to stay away from the summit because “time and efforts were needed to address the concerns of major Muslim countries regarding possible division in the Muslim Ummah”.

Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had concerns about the summit as they understood that the moot could cause “division in Ummah and lead to setting up of an organisation parallel to OIC.”

 

KSA denies ‘pressuring’ Pakistan