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Pakistan threatens to boycott OIC meeting over Swaraj's participation


Islamabad, Feb 27: Amid escalating bilateral hostilities, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday threatened to boycott an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting scheduled for early next month in Abu Dhabi if India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj participates in it.

Swaraj has been invited as a "guest of honour" at the inaugural session of the foreign ministers' conclave in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

"I have no reservations with the OIC or any other Islamic country. My reservations are with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's attendance at the OIC meeting," Qureshi told Geo News.

"If Swaraj attends the meeting then I will not participate in it," Qureshi said.

The Minister said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu telephoned him.

"We believe India has committed aggression against a brother Islamic country and attacked a founding member of the OIC," Qureshi quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

India invited as 'Guest of Honour' to OIC meet, Sushma Swaraj to attend

"The Turkish foreign minister said there is no reason for Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Turkey will fully oppose her invitation and opportunity to address," he claimed.

On Tuesday night, Qureshi had spoken with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to express his reservations over the invite to Swaraj.

"Under the current circumstances, it will not be possible for me to attend OIC meeting where Swaraj is present," he said.

Opposition parties in Pakistan have also called for a boycott of the OIC meeting for inviting India as "guest of honour".

"Pakistan should boycott the OIC meeting. It is an insult that our enemies are being invited as a guest of honour when Kashmiris are facing bloodshed," Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif said on the National Assembly floor.

Former NA speaker and PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq also called on the government to raise the issue of inviting Swaraj as "guest of honour" with OIC. "OIC cannot invite anybody to its meetings without consultations with member countries," Sadiq said.

PPP leader and former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar also slammed the OIC for inviting Swaraj as "guest of honour". "We have to show the world that this nation knows how to protect itself and the politicians of this nation know how to stand together," she added.

MMA's Asad Mehmood joined the chorus of politicians demanding the boycott of OIC and said, "It is wrong to invite the Indian foreign minister. Pakistan should speak to OIC and boycott the meeting."

Meanwhile, the OIC on Tuesday "condemned" India's "incursion and aerial violation" in Pakistan.


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