Srinagar: Pakistan will not attend the 46th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), which is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi today and tomorrow, Dawn reported.
This was announced by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday during the joint session of parliament. Pakistan on Wednesday had officially conveyed to the OIC that it may have to boycott the foreign ministers conclave if the invitation extended to the Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to be guest of honour at its inaugural session is not withdrawn.
“I requested them [UAE] to review the decision [on invitation to India]. UAE said that when we extended the invitation, Pulwama had not occurred,” Qureshi told lawmakers on Friday, adding that UAE officials said “it would be hard to retract the invitation”.
“A joint resolution has been passed by the parliament, signed by all parties, which demands that Pakistan refrain from attending the OIC meeting. In light of this resolution, I will not attend the meeting,” said Qureshi, amid near unanimous desk-thumping, Dawn reported.
Backing Qureshi’s announcement, Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif urged the UAE crown prince to withdraw the invitation to India.
“UAE crown prince’s father was a friend of Pakistan and crown prince too is very fond of Pakistan. In the light of tensions with India, we request him [to retract the invitation to Indian FM],” said Sharif.
PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, however, said that Pakistan — being a founding member of OIC — should attend the meeting. (DAWN)