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February 5, 2020

Kuala Lumpur summit: Impression of division in Ummah was mistaken, says PM Imran

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February 5, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday expressed his deep regret for not attending the Kuala Lumpur Summit last year, adding that some countries impression that the conference would divide the Muslim Ummah was wrong.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad after detailed talks here, Imran said he wanted to say how sad he was when he couldn’t attend the Kuala Lumpur conference last year.

"Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow the conference was going to divide the Ummah. It was clearly a misconception because that was not the purpose of the conference as evident from when the conference took place," he said.

Imran said he looked forward to attending the conference feeling that it was important that Muslim countries educate the West and other non-Muslim countries about Islam.

"All these misunderstandings, whether they are deliberate or whether they are by ignorance, [...] it is important that we the Muslim countries, educate them about the real message of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Earlier during talks, Imran and Dr Mahathir agreed to explore trade and investment potential of their countries for a relationship based on strong economic cooperation.

The two leaders at a joint press stake-out at the PM Office here spoke about the areas of collaboration, particularly trade, investment, defence, law enforcement, tourism and education.

Imran, who paid a two-day visit to Malaysia on the invitation of Prime Minister Mahathir, said the purpose of his visit was to “further strengthen ties between Pakistan and Malaysia in view of their tremendous future in trade and investment cooperation”.

“We held talks based on the idea to develop much greater trade relationship, investment and joint collaboration in defence,” he said about the one-on-one meeting with his Malaysian counterpart.

Imran said Pakistan’s strategic location had made it a big investment market particularly the access to Chinese market through China Pakistan Economic Corridor and its Special Economic Zones.

He thanked Prime Minister Mahathir for speaking up for Kashmiris facing curfew for last six months by the Indian government.

“You have spoken for the justice for Kashmiris, for which we are thankful,” the prime minister said in reference to the categorical statements of Dr Mahathir on Kashmir from time to time that drew ire of India, cutting off of import of Malaysian palm oil.

“We noticed that India threatened Malaysia for supporting the Kashmir cause to cut their palm oil import; Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” he said.

He warned that the "Hindutva racial superior ideology" would exclude minorities in India.

"Once the genie of this ideology is out of the bottle, it's very difficult to put it back in," he said.

“Let me just say, that I say it in sympathy [that] what is happening in India is the biggest disaster for India because this sort of ideology, fascist ideology, does not allow any other shades of opinion to prosper and it will disintegrate India."

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mahathir said, “There is a new face of our relationship based on greater cooperation needed to meet the challenges of our time.”

Mahathir expressed commitment to partnership in strengthening relations in best interest of both countries.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan and I had a substantive discussion on bilateral cooperation as well as on regional and international issues,” he said, adding that it reflected the mutual commitment to strengthen a long history of bilateral relations.

The two sides also agreed to increase exchange visits at all levels to set the tone of future course of bilateral relations.

Mahathir said the meeting called for further collaboration between various ministries and agencies of the two countries and welcomed the successful convening of bilateral consultations between senior officials of both ministries of Foreign Affairs as the key forum to intensify engagements at working level.

Mahathir said on economic cooperation, there existed a huge potential in both countries to develop partnership particularly in trade and investments, and to establish network between various economies, and linkages among private sector.

He reaffirmed the importance of Malaysia and Pakistan’s closer economic partnership signed on November 8th, 2007 in Kuala Lumpur and expressed satisfaction over an agreement for regular discussion to remove barriers in key areas and address the bilateral goods in balance.

Mahathir said Malaysia looked forward to convening the fourth Joint committee meeting in Islamabad.

To a question about the prospects of investment in Pakistan, he said the country had got a developing population of 200 million and their needs could be met within through joint ventures with Malaysia.

Meanwhile, speaking at the International Affairs Forum on ‘Vision for Regional Peace and Security’ at the Malaysia’s Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, Imran termed the ongoing persecution of Muslims all over the world the ‘worst in human history’ and said the answer to the grave problem lay in a collective and firm voice by the Islamic countries.

“The only solution is that Muslims must come together on something like what is happening in Myanmar and Kashmir, when someone is only being persecuted because of their religion.

“We don’t want the Muslim Ummah to come together to fight, but to protect the interests like any other community does.”

He regretted that despite being a population of 1.3 billion, Muslims suffered all over the world, might it be in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and termed it “a tail of disaster”.

“The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst. We can’t even come together as whole on the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) summit meeting on Kashmir,” he said.

However, the prime minister praised his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad for taking an open stance on Kashmir despite threats by India to cut off import of palm oil.

“A leader always has a belief system and an ideology, and that’s why we love and respect Mahathir,” he said.

The prime minister mentioned that no one in the western world could utter a single word against 12 million Jews because of them being a very cohesive, strong and influential community.

Imran Khan said it was fortunate that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran was over, and expressed satisfaction that Pakistan played a part in reducing tensions between the two Muslim states.

He said terrorism and religion had no linkage, and pointed out that Muslims faced discriminatory treatment on the basis on this misconception.

In response to a question if he had lost hope for reconciliation with India, the prime minister said, “Whenever there is a government in India which believes in prosperity and poverty alleviation, Pakistan will be the first to offer a hand of friendship.”

He recalled that after assuming office, he immediately reached out to India to enhance relations for the benefit of a large number of poor people living in the Sub-continent. However, the attempts were repeatedly rebuffed, he added.

The prime minister said the racist Hindutva would exclude 500 million people in India because the ideology did not allow other shades of opinion to prosper.

Imran Khan said his vision for Pakistan was to bring the people out of poverty and fight the mafia involved in corruption.

“My government is making every effort to transform the country into a welfare state based on principles of compassion and rule of law,” he added.

Imran said numerous mafias in Pakistan, whether they were political or those involved in price hike, did not want the country to make progress by exerting their undue use of power.

He said the reason why Pakistan could not achieve progress despite its God-given great potential was its journey without a proper vision.

“Nations without a vision die as it is the key to keep them flourish and develop,” he added.

Imran Khan emphasized that he wanted to emulate the ideologies of Pakistan’s founding and ideological fathers, including Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, who dreamt of a tolerant, just and welfare state like that of Madina, which embodied all modern principles of justice and compassion.

He said his government launched several welfare projects for the uplift of poor people, including establishment of shelter homes.

In a related development, a treaty of extradition was also singed as part of a cooperative law enforcement process between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Malaysia’s Law Minister Liew Vui Keong inked the treaty at a ceremony witnessed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed at the PM Office.

Dr Mahathir said the treaty “reinforced positive momentum in bilateral relationship by enhancing security and transnational crime cooperation.

“Any criminal, may it be a terrorist or an ordinary criminal, having committed crime in Malaysia and trying to hide in other country with which we have extradition will not be able to get refuge,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the signed treaty an important milestone in cooperation with Malaysian in law enforcement sector.

He mentioned that a wanted Pakistani criminal involved in a number of murders was extradited from Malaysia even before the signing of treaty.