Islamabad, March 1 (Hindustan Times): Pakistan Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said that he will skip the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meet in Abu Dhabi because India has been invited to the event. “I will not attend Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle for having extended invitation as a Guest of Honour to Sushma Swaraj,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in parliament, adding that other officials would attend to represent Pakistan’s interests.
Qureshi regretted that despite Pakistan’s protest, the OIC’s invitation to Swaraj was not rescinded.
“There was no consultation over the OIC invitation to the Indian foreign minister. India is neither a member nor an observer of the OIC,” Qureshi pointed out, adding that he sent two letters to the UAE calling upon the body to withdraw its invitation to Sushma Swaraj.
The Pakistan foreign minister informed Parliament that he requested the OIC to either rescind the invitation or postpone the session in view of the prevailing situation, neither of which was done.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of terror when she represented India for the first time at the meeting of foreign ministers of the OIC in the UAE’s Abu Dhabi today.“We must tell the states which provide funding and shelter to terrorists to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,” said Swaraj.
Sushma Swaraj was addressing the inaugural plenary session of the meeting as a guest of honour, and officials have described the invitation to India as a key foreign policy success in efforts to strengthen relations with Arab and Muslim-majority countries.
(The featured image at the top shows the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi)