KUALA LUMPUR (Dunya News) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that Saudi Arabia pressured Pakistan not to attend a summit for Muslim leaders in Malaysia this week, adding it was not the first time that Riyadh had threatened Islamabad.
According to media reports, regarding the absence of Pakistan and Indonesia at the summit, the president said he would have liked to have seen them present as well.
When it comes to Saudi Arabia’s and United Arab Emirates (UAE) effect in this absence, Erdogan stated that this is not a first for the countries since they have the tendency to put pressure on other countries in doing or not doing things.
“Unfortunately, we see that Saudi Arabia pressures Pakistan. Now, there are promises that the country has given to Pakistan regarding the central bank. However, more than that, there are 4 million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia. They (threaten by saying that they) would send (Pakistanis) back and re-employ Bangladeshi people instead,” Erdogan said, adding that the kingdom has also used similar threatening tactics regarding the central bank case by claiming that they would withdraw their money.
Erdogan further said that due to its economic difficulties, Pakistan had to obey such threats, while implying that Indonesia has also suffered from similar problems.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had cancelled the visit after being summoned to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Leaders and senior representatives from some 20 Muslim nations have gathered in Kuala Lumpur this week to discuss issues agitating Muslims globally.
Explaining its decision to stay away, Saudi Arabia said the summit was the wrong forum for matters of importance to the world s 1.75 billion Muslims. However, some analysts suspect the kingdom feared being diplomatically isolated by regional rivals Iran, Qatar and Turkey, who are attending.
Khan is thought to have been among the original leaders who suggested that the Kuala Lumpur summit take place, during talks with Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The prime minister had telephoned Mahathir to inform him of his decision not to attend.
The Kuala Lumpur summit describes itself as "an international platform for Muslim leaders, intellectuals and scholars from around the world to discuss and exchange ideas about the issues revolving in the Muslim world".
Saudi Arabia is understood to have been concerned that moves might have begun at the Malaysia summit to form a new body to replace the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Jeddah.
Mahathir, at 94 the world s oldest prime minister, has denied those accusations.