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Imran Khan, Malaysia PM Mahathir to hold talks on Tuesday

Saudi Arabia viewed the summit as efforts by certain Muslim countries to create a new Islamic bloc.

SNS | New Delhi |

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Kuala Lumpur on a two-day official visit, is set to meet his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday during which they will hold talks on further enhancing and solidifying the long-standing relations between the two nations.

Khan was received by Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and senior officials upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, The Express Tribune reported.

High Commissioner of Pakistan in Malaysia Amna Baloch and officers of the High Commission were also present.

On his second visit to Malaysia since becoming the Prime Minister in August 2018, Khan is leading a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Adviser on Commerce Razzak Dawood, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and others.

The Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad said that the two premiers will have a tete-e-tete, followed by delegation-level talks. They will also witness the signing of important agreements, memorandums of understanding, and have a joint press stakeout.

“The Prime Minister’s visit is another sign of robust engagement between Pakistan and Malaysia, and the shared commitment to further fortify the strategic partnership between the two countries,” the FO said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia viewed the summit as efforts by certain Muslim countries to create a new Islamic bloc.

However, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad dismissed such reports, The Express Tribune reported.

Pakistan, which initially accepted the invitation, had to withdraw from the summit on the grounds to maintain its; neutral position; within the Islamic world.

Besides his meeting with Mahathir, Khan is also scheduled to speak at the Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) on peace and security on Tuesday.

Khan was previously expected to visit Malaysia in December 2019 to participate in the Kuala Lumpur Summit, a Dawn news report said.

However, he had cancelled the visit, which according to a diplomatic source, the reconsideration had been prompted by Saudi reservations over the summit which they had seen as an attempt to present an alternative to the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Pakistan is also making efforts to reach out to Turkey. Official circles are confident that the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayab Erdogan in February would help remove any mistrust between the two countries.

Earlier, the Saudi foreign minister and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi visited Islamabad to discuss the situation following the Kuala Lumpur summit.

The Kuala Lumpur Summit which is into its 5th edition is a non-governmental organization initiative, supported by the Malaysian government and is not intended to create a new bloc as alluded to by some of its critics.

In addition, the summit is not a platform to discuss religion or religious affairs but specifically to address the state of affairs of the Muslim Ummah,”

(With inputs from agency)