–Premier tells Malaysian counterpart he’ll attend next summit as he knows it won’t create divisions within Muslim world
–Imran thanks Mahathir for his constant support over Kashmir issue, pledges to buy more palm oil to compensate for India’s withdrawal
–Pakistan and Malaysia agree to strengthen trade and investment relations by removing barriers in key areas
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed regret for missing the Kuala Lumpur Summit in December last year, saying there was a misconception among some countries that the conference would divide the Muslim Ummah.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PM Imran said, “I want to say how sad I was that I couldn’t attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of December.
“Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow the conference was going to divide the Ummah. It was clearly a misconception because that was not the purpose of the conference as evident from when the conference took place.”
Imran had pulled out of the Kuala Lumpur Summit of some 20 Muslim countries reportedly due to pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia. At the time, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had confirmed that Riyadh and the UAE had concerns about the summit.
Addressing reporters, the premier said that he was “looking forward” to attending the conference because he felt that it is important that Muslim countries educate the West and other non-Muslim countries about Islam.
“All these misunderstandings, whether they are deliberate or whether they are by ignorance, […] it is important that we the Muslim countries, educate them about the real message of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“I also felt that we need a media, which we are working on, some sort of a joint effort that not only projects this […] but also develop content for our young people about what really Islam is.”
Responding to a question about whether he would attend the KL Summit next year, Prime Minister Imran said: “Of course I would because now it is evident that the KL Summit was not to divide the ummah […] If anything it was to unite the ummah, so of course I would love to come.”
In response to another question, the premier said the decision not to attend the summit had not affected Pakistan’s relations with other Muslim nations.
LAUDS MALAYSIA FOR SUPPORT:
Imran thanked the Malaysian premier for standing by Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute and speaking against the injustices being perpetrated by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.
He said, unfortunately, a very radical and extremist government has taken over India which has put the Kashmiri people in an open prison. He expressed disappointment over the fact that India had also threatened Malaysia for supporting the Kashmir cause and had cut back on palm oil imports. He said that Pakistan will do its best to compensate for Malaysia’s loss by importing palm oil.
Talking about the trade relationship between the two countries, he said that given the close affinity between the people of Pakistan and Malaysia, there is a great scope for further improvement in trade and economic relations. “The idea is to develop a much closer relationship and also doing joint ventures in the defence sector,” he said.
MAHATHIR ACKNOWLEDGES PAKISTAN’S SUPPORT:
In his remarks, the Malaysian premier said that Pakistan and Malaysia have multifaceted relations and PM Imran’s visit reflects Pakistan’s commitment to enhance these relations. “We have set a stage for a new phase in this relationship and we will continue to foster and deepen relations with Pakistan,” he said.
He said that during his meeting with PM Imran, he discussed the current situation of the Muslim Ummah, including the Palestine issue. “We have agreed to increase collaborative efforts to uphold the true value of Islam and promote solidarity of the Muslim Ummah,” he said.
PM Mahathir said we also discussed the current situation in Muslim Ummah, including the Palestine situation. “We have agreed to increase the collaborative efforts to uphold the true values of Islam and promote the solidarity of Muslim Ummah,” he said.
PAKISTAN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIA:
Earlier, PM Imran also addressed an event organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) of Malaysia.
During his address, he reiterated that Pakistan was meant to emulate the Riasat-e-Madina, the model of statecraft introduced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but had lost its way.
“We want far away from that ideal and if you ask me why Pakistan could not achieve its great God-given potential, it is because of this fact.
“Nations without visions eventually die,” he said, adding, “My vision is to go back to the reason why Pakistan was made.”
Responding to a question at the session, the prime minister recalled that one of his first actions after being elected into power was “extending a hand of friendship to India”.
“I said this for one reason, and that one reason is that the greatest number of poor people live in the Indian subcontinent. The best way we can reduce poverty is when the two countries start having a good relationship and start trading with each other,” he said.
“And I repeat, that the reason we kept getting rebuffed by India, again and again, was not for practical reasons. It was because India has been taken over by an extremist ideology and time will tell people who don’t understand. What is happening in India right now is terrible for Indians. It will divide India forever,” he added.
During PM Imran’s visit, delegation-level talks between Pakistan and Malaysia were held at Putrajaya. PM Imran led the Pakistani delegation while the Malaysian side was led by PM Mahathir. The two sides discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and ways and means to further expand their relations in different fields including trade, economy and tourism. They agreed to hold regular discussions to strengthen trade and investment relations by removing barriers in key areas and develop linkages between the private sectors of the two countries. They expressed commitment to build stronger ties in the areas of defence, law enforcement, tourism and education. They reaffirmed commitment to ensure stronger collaboration amongst various ministries and agencies to enhance friendship and understanding between the people of two countries.