Pakistan’s absence in the four-day summit held in Malaysia to tackle issues related to Islamophobia has irked many participating nations.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who along with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had been a prime mover behind the summit, made a last-minute decision to skip the meeting.
Erdogan has revealed that Pakistan abstained from the Kuala Lumpur Islamic summit because the Saudi Arabian government had threatened economic sanctions against it.
The Islamic summit hosted by Malaysia had excluded countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.
Khan, who was slated to speak at the summit, cancelled his trip at the last minute following which his Malaysian counterpart attempted to pacify Saudi Arabia by assuring the Kingdom that the summit was open to all Islamic nations.
Saudi Arabia sees Turkey, backed by Malaysia and Pakistan, as a challenge to its leadership in the Islamic world, as the three nations have in the last decade strengthened their alliance.
Daily Sabah Diplomacy on Friday quoted Erdogan saying that it was ‘unfortunate’ that Saudi Arabia ‘pressures’ Pakistan.
He divulged that the Kingdom had threatened to withdraw the loan from Pakistan’s Central bank and replace four million Pakistanis working in Saudi with Bangladeshi workers.
Pakistan has been facing a major balance of payment crisis for which it has sought massive loans from Saudi Arabia, besides the global financial institution, International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Lashing out at Saudi Arabia, the Turkish President said that the Kingdom has used similar threatening tactics against Pakistan due to its economic difficulties.
As a result, ‘Pakistan had to obey such threats’, Erdogan said, adding that Saudi and the UAE bullied other Muslim countries too.
“This is not a first for the countries since they have the tendency to put pressure on other countries in doing or not doing things,” he told the Turkish media in Kuala Lumpur.
While boasting about Turkey’s efforts to help other Muslim nations, Erdogan stated that his country will continue its cooperation with Malaysia, Qatar and Iran over both regional and international issues.
The four-day summit could also address mounting outrage over China’s camps for Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang – a subject that will doubtless upset Beijing.(The Free Press Journal)