Summit Debacle

Prime Minister Imran Khan should have kept his commitment to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and Turkish President Tayyab Erdogan to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit and not bowed to Saudi pressure.

By Ali Faudel | February 2020


The Kuala Lumpur Summit or KL Summit was held in Malaysia between December 18 and 21, 2019.

The idea for the Summit was conceived in New York in September 2019 when Imran Khan met the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a UN General Assembly meeting. Khan stated his profound desire to work with both leaders in order to address the problems of Muslims globally and improve their worldwide image.

Even a few days before the Summit, the ruling PTI was presenting it as a major diplomatic achievement for Imran Khan.

But, only two days before the event, on December 16, Prime Minister Imran Khan decided not to attend the KL Summit, and informed Mahathir Mohamad of his decision through a phone call.

The Summit was held despite Imran Khan’s absence. It was attended by more than 450 Muslim leaders, thinkers and intellectuals from 56 countries.

At the end of the Summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudis had threatened Imran Khan with withdrawal of monetary assistance extended to Pakistan. It was also made clear to the PM that hundreds of thousands of Pakistani workers in the kingdom would be sent back home.

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