Pak expresses reservation about OIC invitation to India

Pak expresses reservation about OIC invitation to India

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, gives a press conference with Defense Minister Pervez Khattak after a recent Indian airstrike, in Islamabad, Pakistan. AP/PTI photo

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that he has spoken to his UAE counterpart and "expressed reservations" about invitation to India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend the OIC meeting scheduled later this week.

In a strategically significant development, India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers' conclave of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a powerful grouping of Muslim majority nations, in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2. Swaraj will attend the meeting as the 'guest of honour'.

Addressing a press conference here after a special meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) in the wake of India's air strikes inside Pakistan early Tuesday, Qureshi said the situation has changed now.

MUST READ | Surgical Strike 2.0 LIVE - Catch latest updates here

"Aggression has been done against a founding member of the OIC," he said, referring to the Indian attack that destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and commanders.

The air strikes came 12 days after the JeM carried out the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

Qureshi said that he has spoken to the foreign minister of the UAE and expressed Pakistan's reservations for inviting the Indian foreign minister as chief of guest in the OIC meeting.

Describing the situation following the Indian air strikes as "serious", Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan also had telephonic conversations with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as well as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the development.

The OIC is a grouping of 57 countries, majority of which are Muslim majority. It has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

On the request of Pakistan, the OIC summoned an emergency meeting of its Kashmir Contact Group at its General Secretariat in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The Contact Group expressed deep concern over the heightened tension and called for immediate de-escalation in the region, the Foreign Office said.

In a tweet, the OIC "condemned" India's "action against an OIC founding member state."

"OIC called upon both parties to act responsibly & encouraged them to seek peaceful solution to current crisis without resort to use of force. It also called on them to embrace dialogue & work towards de-escalation of current situation as a matter of priority," it tweeted.