As External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is slated to leave for the UAE later today to participate in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conclave as the Guest of Honour, Pakistan has shown reservations amid the escalating tensions between the two nation.
Geo news quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying, “I will not hesitate to meet but OIC is not the forum for talks with Swaraj.”
He further added, “India is neither a member of OIC nor an observer. The host country had invited the Indian foreign minister as a guest speaker for one inaugural session. I have spoken to the UAE minister and apprised him of Pakistan’s reservations and told him that he should have spoken to us before inviting Swaraj.”
Swaraj will address the plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2. Qureshi has threatened to boycott the OIC meeting if Swaraj participated.
Yesterday, Swaraj attended the 16th Foreign Ministers meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) at Wuzhen in China where she said that terrorist attacks like Pulwama are a grim reminder for the need of all countries to show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism.
The OIC on Tuesday “condemned” the aerial strike carried out by India deep inside Pakistan, urging New Delhi and Islamabad to exercise restraint to avoid further provocations that would “endanger peace and security in the region.”
The Indian Air Force strike in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province destroyed a major terrorist training camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and eliminated a “large number” of terrorists, including top commanders.
JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 personnel were killed.
On Wednesday morning, India foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to carry out strikes in Jammu and Kashmir by shooting down an F-16 fighter plane while losing its own MiG-21 jet after which a pilot was “missing in action”.
Pakistan later acknowledged that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control, is in its custody.
The OIC called on both sides to resume bilateral dialogue towards de-escalation of the current situation “as a matter of priority”.
Swaraj has been invited by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address the OIC meeting.