ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has cancelled his scheduled visit to Malaysia and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be representing Pakistan in his place at the Kuala Lumpur Summit scheduled for December 18-20. "The premier assured the royals of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that he would not be a partof any scheme being planned to undermine the Gulf leadership", sources were quoted as saying.
PM Imran Khan apprised the Malaysian President about the recent development being undertaken by Pakistan by abstaining from participating in the Malaysia Summit.
Middle East leaders expected to attend include Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad al-Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Commenting further on participation at the summit meeting, Dr Mahathir said Kuala Lumpur as the host had invited 50 nations including the heads of state to be involved together in the various discussions concerning the Islamic world.
The absence of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, whose king also hold the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina demonstrates some of the divisions in the Muslim world.
Pakistani FM Qureshi said Pakistan's pulling out of the summit demonstrated its "neutrality" in the dispute between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia over the issue.
Even as delegations were arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian officials were unable to provide a final list of who would be attending.
He said Mahathir Mohammed had sent his Foreign Minister to Saudi Arabia to extend a formal invitation for the summit considering it a very vital member of the Muslim world.
It also said the summit was not a platform to discuss religion or religious affairs but specifically to address the state of affairs of the Muslim Ummah.
"The KL Summit which is into its fifth edition is a Non-Governmental Organisation initiative, supported by the Malaysian Government and is not meant to create a new bloc as alluded to by some of its critics", said Mohamed in a statement released on Tuesday. During that interview, the Malaysian leader also raised the possibility that the alleged mistreatment of Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang would be discussed.