Pakistan will not attend OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers meet in UAE

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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.

The tensions between Pakistan and Delhi had been started since the Lethpora militant attack on February 14 in which 49 CRPF men were killed.

According to a report published by Dawn, this was announced by Pakistan 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extended to the Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to be guest of honour at its inaugural session is not withdrawn.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 the 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,” reported Dawn.

“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,” Dawn quoted Qureshi as having said.

The report said that backing Qureshi’s announcement, Leader of the Pakistan 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,” Dawn quoted Sharif as having said.

Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, however, said that Pakistan — being a founding member of OIC — should attend the meeting.

“I am a democratic man and if the house thinks that the foreign minister should not attend, then I won’t say much. But disengagement is not a solution. The foreign minister should attend the OIC meeting. Pakistan should be represented there,” Dawn quoted Zardari as having said.

“Our population is emotional, we are emotional and we think with emotions. Wars are fought against nations — if it comes to that, we are ready for war. But that should be the last resort. Soft diplomacy is the need of the hour,” Dawn quoted Zardari as having said.

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