Won't attend OIC meet because of invite to Sushma: Pak. Foreign Minister

Lower ranking officials will attend to represent Pakistan’s interests, he says.

March 01, 2019 12:33 pm | Updated 02:08 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefs journalists in Islamabad on February 13, 2019.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefs journalists in Islamabad on February 13, 2019.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that he would not attend a meeting of foreign ministers at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Abu Dhabi this weekend because his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj had been invited to the event.

“I will not go to the council of foreign ministers,” Mr. Qureshi said, adding that lower ranking officials would attend to represent Pakistan’s interests.

“I wrote to OIC to take back the invitation to India and if they won’t be able to do this, I won’t be able to participate. I have decided that I won’t be going to OIC,” he said during a joint session of Parliament.

“We have 19 resolutions there, which also includes Kashmir issue. Therefore, our lower level officials will be present to defend Pakistan’s resolution, in short if someone tries to give India an observer status we can oppose it,” he added.

Dawn reported that Mr. Qureshi had requested the OIC to review the decision to invite Ms. Swaraj.

“UAE said that when we extended the invitation, Pulwama had not occurred. If it had, case would have been difference. Now we have extended invitation it would be hard to retract but they would still consult,” Dawn also reported Mr. Qureshi as saying.

It is for the first time that India has been invited to a meeting of the OIC, an influential grouping of 57 Islamic countries, as the guest of honour.

Mr. Qureshi on Thursday said the OIC is “our home” so he will go there but will not hold talks with Ms. Swaraj. Earlier, he said he would boycott the meeting if Ms. Swaraj participates.

(With inputs from Suhasini Haidar and The Hindu Net Desk)

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