Imran: KL Summit did not divide Muslim community

PUTRAJAYA: In expressing his regret for not attending the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to make it for the conference in future, saying that the summit did not divide the Muslim ummah (community).

He said there was a misconception among “friends” on the objectives of the summit hosted by Malaysia.

“Of course, I will come because it is now evident that the KL Summit was not to divide the ummah.

“The outcome of the summit was far from the misconception. If anything, it was to unite the ummah,” he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The two leaders earlier held a four-eyed meeting and led their respective delegations for a bilateral meeting at the Perdana Putra building.

Malaysia hosted the KL Summit last December aimed at bolstering cooperation among Muslim nations.

Imran, who was scheduled to attend, announced at the eleventh hour that he was skipping the event.

Dr Mahathir later dismissed allegations that Imran had cancelled his attendance due to pressure from Saudi Arabia, saying that his Pakistani counterpart could not make it because of other issues.

Dr Mahathir also said then that Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud felt it was better that the issues were discussed in a bigger platform such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The KL Summit 2019, Dr Mahathir maintained, was not trying to create a new bloc to replace the OIC as was reported by certain foreign publications.

In explaining his absence, Imran said there were concerns the conference was going to divide the ummah. But after the summit, these proved clearly to be a misconception.

“I had looked forward to attending the conference because I feel it is important that Muslim countries educate the Western and non-Muslim nations about Islam and explain all the misunderstanding about the religion,” he added.

Imran also commended Dr Mahathir for speaking up on the Kashmir conflict.

“The way you have stood with us and spoken about the injustices that are going on, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, I really want to thank you,” he said.

At the United Nations general assembly last year, Dr Mahathir said despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, “the country has been invaded and occupied” and called on India to work with Pakistan to resolve the conflict.

The Indian government in August last year revoked the constitutional autonomy of the Indian-administered Kashmir, splitting the Muslim-majority region into two federal territories in a bid to integrate it fully with the rest of the country.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan.

Dr Mahathir said he and Imran also exchanged views on the current situation surrounding the Muslim community around the world, including the situation in Palestine and in the Rakhine state in Myanmar.

The two leaders also signed an extradition treaty to enhance security and transnational crime cooperation between Malaysia and Pakistan.

On this, Dr Mahathir said the extradition agreement was necessary so that Malaysian authorities can seek assistance from its Pakistan counterpart to arrest suspected terrorists or criminals, and vice versa.

He also said Malaysia hopes to see its investment in Pakistan in the automotive industry be diversified into other engineering-related businesses.

“Pakistan has a 200 million population, and obviously there are a lot of needs that can be produced together with Pakistan via joint ventures,” he added.

The two leaders discussed other areas of bilateral cooperation, including defence, tourism and education, where both countries are committed to cultivating stronger ties in these areas.

Imran said that Pakistan wants to invite more Malaysian companies to set up businesses in Pakistan, adding that special economic zones are being developed for this purpose.

He also pointed out the country’s strategic location where products can be exported to China via Pakistan.

“We have access to the Chinese market as we are connected through the China-Pakistan economic corridor,” he said.

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