Pakistan’s foreign minister boycotts OIC meeting where Indian counterpart was guest of honour

Left to right: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.

Pakistan’s foreign minister announced on Friday that he would not be attending a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) being hosted by the United Arab Emirates over the group’s failure to cancel his Indian counterpart’s invitation.

India’s Sushma Swaraj was invited to the OIC meeting as a guest of honour despite strong opposition from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed his parliament that he would not be attending the conference in the UAE on Friday 1 March and Saturday 2 March.

Repeating his opposition to the OIC’s decision to invite Swaraj to attend the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi, Mr Qureshi said he will not attend the session due to the OIC’s failure to revoke his Indian counterpart’s invitation.

Stating that the “UAE has always helped Pakistan in difficult times”, Mr Qureshi said with regret that despite Pakistan’s protest, the OIC’s invitation to Swaraj was upheld.

He added: “There was no consultation over the OIC invitation to Indian foreign minister.

“India is neither a member nor an observer of the OIC.”

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Mr Qureshi sent two letters of protest, one as late as Friday to the UAE, calling upon the OIC to rescind Swaraj’s invitation.

Qureshi requested the OIC to either withdraw the invitation or postpone the meeting amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and India, but neither was done.

“I have [therefore] decided not to attend OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Qureshi announced to parliament.

However, Mr Qureshi confirmed that a lower-level delegation from Pakistan’s foreign ministry will attend the OIC meeting.

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