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Imran Khan to visit Kuala Lumpur next week to placate Malaysia: Report


Press Trust of India Islamabad
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Kuala Lumpur next week to placate Malaysia after he skipped a major summit of Muslim nations reportedly under pressure from Saudi Arabia, according to a media report on Wednesday.
Khan had confirmed Pakistan's participation in the December 19-21 summit hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, but skipped the event at the 11th hour due to pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - key financial backers of the cash-strapped country.
The summit in Kuala Lumpur was seen by Saudis as an attempt to create a new bloc in the Muslim world that could become an alternative to the dysfunctional Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) led by the Gulf Kingdom.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan even visited Islamabad last month to convey the Saudi leadership's gratitude to Pakistan for not attending the summit.
The Express Tribune on Wednesday reported that Khan is scheduled to travel to Kuala Lumpur on an official visit from February 3-4.
After pulling out from the event, Khan spoke to his Malaysian counterpart over phone and offered him to visit after the summit.
It is believed that Khan will use the visit to explain Prime Minister Mohamad the reason of Pakistan's pull out from the summit, the report said.
Pakistan is also making efforts to reach out to Turkey after it blamed Islamabad of pulling out of the summit under threats from Saudi Arabia.
The report said that the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayab Erdogan in February to Pakistan would help remove any mistrust between the two countries.
Pakistan tried hard before the Kuala Lumpur summit to bring all Islamic countries on one platform. However, those efforts could not make any headway because of time constraints, the report said, adding that it would continue to strive for unity in the Muslim world to face common challenges.
Khan's visit to Malaysia is part of those efforts, it said.

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First Published: Jan 29 2020 | 1:25 PM IST

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