Pakistan has expressed its reservation about the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s invitation to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend its meeting later this week in the wake of the Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn strike on terror camps across the Line of Control, PTI reported.
India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the OIC, which is a group of Muslim majority nations, in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to March 2. Swaraj will attend the meeting as the “guest of honour”.
At a press conference in Islamabad after a special meeting of its National Security Committee, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the situation has changed now. He said he has spoken to his United Arab Emirates counterpart and “expressed reservations” about inviting Swaraj to the conclave. “Aggression has been done against a founding member of the OIC,” said Qureshi.
The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan has held telephonic conversations with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the development.
The OIC on Pakistan’s request summoned an emergency meeting of its Kashmir Contact Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. The group expressed deep concern over the heightened tension between the two neighbours and called for immediate de-escalation in the region, according to the Pakistan Foreign Office.
The OIC “condemned the Indian incursion and aerial violation... against an OIC founding member state”. “It urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that would endanger peace and security in the region,” it tweeted.
The air strikes were a “non-military preemptive action” against the biggest camp of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said hours after the action. A large number of terrorists and trainers of the militant outfit were killed in the attack, he added. It was the first air strike claimed by India across the Line of Control since 1971.
The strikes came 12 days after a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed. The attack was claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
However, Pakistan armed forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor accused India of lying about the strikes and casualties and said Islamabad will react differently and surprise Delhi in retaliation. A high alert has been issued in the states of Punjab and Gujarat.
At an all-party meeting on Tuesday, Swaraj briefed the Opposition about the strikes. All opposition parties have extended full support to the government and the security forces in the fight against terror.
Swaraj said she had also spoken to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other foreign leaders about the preemptive strike. India’s fight is not with Pakistan, but with terror establishments, she added.