Gulf kingdom claims such reports stand denied in the face of ‘brotherly ties’ between two nations
Saudi Arabia on Saturday rejected reports that it had “pressured” Pakistan into withdrawing from the Kuala Lumpur Summit convened by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
In a press release issued on Twitter, the Saudi embassy dismissed as “baseless and fake” reports that the Gulf kingdom pressured Islamabad to “discourage it from participating in the mini-summit held in Malaysia.”
On Friday, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah had quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying that Pakistan had withdrawn from the summit over threats from Saudi Arabia. “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,” he was quoted a saying. He also alleged that the Gulf kingdom had issued similar threats to withdraw money deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan if Islamabad attended the Kuala Lumpur Summit.
In its rejoinder, which does not mention Erdogan, Saudi Arabia said the reports had no basis due to the “nature of the solid brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries.” It added that “their agreement on the importance of the unity of the Islamic nation, maintaining the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, mutual respect for their sovereignty and the independence of their decisions” further proved there was no pressure exerted.
Independent decision-making is a key feature of the “well-established historical relations between [Saudi Arabia and Pakistan],” it added.
The four-day Kuala Lumpur Summit sought address the major concerns facing Muslim nations, but was boycotted by a few nations that are primarily inclined with Saudi Arabia. The Pakistan Foreign Office has claimed Pakistan’s decision to skip the summit—after Prime Minister Imran Khan accepted a formal invitation to attend on Nov. 29—was done because there wasn’t sufficient time to address the concerns raised by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.