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Won’t attend OIC meet as India present: Pak FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi

In a significant development in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has for the first time invited India as the ‘guest of honour’.

SNS | New Delhi |

A day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that IAF pilot Abhinandan will be freed on Friday as a “gesture of peace”, Islamabad Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he will not attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Abu Dhabi as India’s External Minister Sushma Swaraj would be present as a guest of honour.

“I will not attend Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle for having extended invitation as a Guest of Honour to Sushma Swaraj,” he said.

Qureshi had earlier, in a bid to exert diplomatic pressure on OIC in the wake of Indian Air Force bombing the JeM training camp in Balakot, had expressed reservations to his UAE counterpart over the invitation to Swaraj.

“I have made myself clear that India has shown aggression. Under the current circumstances, it will not be possible for me to attend OIC meeting where Sushma Swaraj is present,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Abu Dhabi early on Friday morning to attend the foreign ministers’ meet of the OIC states, an influential grouping of 57 countries.

Swaraj will attend the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday.

In a significant development in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has for the first time invited India as the ‘guest of honour’ to the 46th session of its Council of Foreign Ministers.

The OIC is a forum that has been invariably misused by Pakistan to slam India on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. India, which is not a member of the body, has always rejected its criticism by the OIC by pointing out that the bloc had no locus standi on its internal matters.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents and a population of more than 1.8 billion.

Swaraj was personally invited by her UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address the inaugural plenary of the OIC meeting.

Sushma is likely to speak about Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism in India by highlighting Islamabad’s involvement in various terror attacks in India, including the Pulwama attack.