Pakistan will skip a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the United Arab Emirates in protest against the group’s decision to extend an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Geo TV reported.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the announcement at a joint session of the Parliament in Islamabad. Pakistan on Wednesday had threatened to boycott the OIC meeting in the event of India’s participation.
India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the OIC in Abu Dhabi on March 1 and March 2. Swaraj will attend the meeting as the “guest of honour”. The OIC, founded in 1969, consists of 57 member states, with 40 countries being Muslim majority countries.
“There was no consultation over OIC invitation to the Indian foreign minister,” said Qureshi on Friday. “India is neither a member nor an observer of the OIC.”
The minister said he also sent two letters to the UAE urging it to withdraw its invitation to Swaraj. The OIC had neither rescinded the invitation or postponed the session in view of the prevailing situation between the two countries, he said. “I have, therefore, decided not to attend the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi,” Qureshi said.
A lower-level Pakistani delegation will attend the OIC session and present resolutions including the one on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The delegation will also oppose any move to grant observer status to India at the OIC.