Pakistan says decision to skip Malaysian summit due to ‘time’, ‘efforts’ needed

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Pakistan’s decision to opt out of a four-day summit in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur was due to “time and efforts that were needed to address the concerns of major Muslim countries [due to] possible division [of] Ummah,” the spokeswoman for the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The statement comes after several Turkish media outlets quoted Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday as saying that Saudi Arabia had threatened to remove all Pakistani laborers in the country if Prime Minister Imran Khan did not comply with the Kingdom’s orders.

“We see Saudi Arabia issuing economic threats to Pakistan and threatening to replace the four million Pakistani workers with Bangladeshi workers,” the Turkey-based TRT World news channel quoted Erdogan as saying.

The Daily Sabah, a Turkish newspaper, also quoted Erdogan as saying, “unfortunately, we see that Saudi Arabia pressures Pakistan.”

The Kingdom’s embassy in Islamabad said in a statement on Saturday that the allegations are “baseless and fake.”

The Saudi embassy said it “stresses that these false reports are already denied by the nature of solid brotherly relations [between the two countries], and their agreement on the importance of [maintaining] the unity of the Islamic nation, [and] maintaining the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).”

During a phone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz reaffirmed that holding meetings outside the OIC was against the interest of the Muslim world, and that issues relating to the member nations should be discussed through the organization.

The OIC often acts as the collective voice for Muslim countries on issues of common concern.

While all 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were invited, only around 20 countries, including Iran and Turkey, sent their delegates.

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