Imran Khan to attend MGI summit in Saudi Arabia

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will be on a 3-day visit to Saudi Arabia that will commence on October 23, according to the local media.

He will attend the launching ceremony of the ‘Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) Summit’ scheduled to be held in the Capital city of Riyadh, reported Dawn citing the Foreign Office on Friday.

Imran Khan, who will be on a 3-day visit to the country at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes the cabinet ministers like Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

According to Dawn, the FO informed that Imran Khan will talk about Pakistan’s experience in launching “nature-based solutions to address the environmental challenges” and challenges faced by the developing countries because of the phenomenon of climate change.

“An initiative of Crown Prince Salman, the MGI Summit is the “first of its kind” in the Middle East,” Dawn reported citing the FO statement.

Elaborating on the Prime Minister’s schedule during his 3-day visit, the newspaper reported citing the FO that with the focus on “advancing” the economic and trade relations with Saudi, Imran Khan will hold bilateral meetings with the Saudi leadership.

The Pakistani delegation is also expected to participate in an event to interact with leading investors and businessmen from Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani diaspora, according to Dawn.

The visit comes at a time when Pakistan is in a hurry to recognise the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as a legitimate government and also suggesting the global community to do so.

While the OIC has not taken a stand, so far, Riyadh has issued a statement that does not seek the Taliban to be inclusive or includes women in their government.

This is also a possible effort to go past Qatar, a rival of Riyadh, which has become the most important hub of all diplomatic and political activity on the Afghanistan front for several months now.

Earlier this year, Pakistan drew the ire of Saudi Arabia after Islamabad called for a Pakistan-led coalition of Islamic countries to counter Israel.

Riyadh’s suspicions about Pakistani motives are not unfounded. Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Muhammad Qureshi, have been criticising the kingdom for not taking up the Pakistani cause of Kashmir at the OIC meetings. Riyadh and OIC have remained neutral on Kashmir, considering it an internal matter of another sovereign nation, India.

In what Saudis consider an open revolt in the Islamic world, Islamabad has been hobnobbing with countries like Turkey and Malaysia to create a parallel alliance of Islamic countries, reported Pentapostagma.

In February last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan chose to speak out against Saudi Arabia during a visit to Malaysia where he had gone to elicit support for an alternative alliance.

Making an oblique reference to Saudi Arabia, Khan lamented the lack of unity among Muslim nations in Kashmir. He said, “We can’t even come together as a whole at the OIC meeting on Kashmir.”