Zardari says Pakistan should attend OIC meeting

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said Pakistan should attend the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) being hosted by the United Arab Emirates, after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced he will not be attending the session.

Qureshi announced in a joint session of the Parliament earlier today that Pakistan will not attend the OIC's Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi, in protest against the OIC's decision to invite Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. Addressing the joint session of Parliament, Zardari said he did not agree with Pakistan's decision to boycott the OIC meeting. “I suggested that we should not refuse to attend the OIC meeting,” the former president said. “These countries are our friends and Pakistan should engage its friends. We should not forget our friends.” “If the Parliament wishes that the government not attend the meeting, then I can’t say much,” he added. “Not attending the meeting is not the solution,” Zardari said. “I suggest the foreign minister attend the OIC meeting. He should go there and talk.” “The world has changed,” the PPP president lamented. “It does not matter if the foreign minister goes now or later. He can send the foreign secretary right now.” “In the current situation, Pakistan should not forget its friends. China, Russia and Turkey should play their part,” Zardari noted. “Modi’s adventure was for elections in India. Wars are not only fought by armies but also by nations,” he said. “We should try to have better relations with our neighbouring countries so that they stand with us in difficult times.” “We should work on making our economy stronger.”

Sharing his views in the joint session, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said it would be good if friendly countries would speak out in support of Pakistan.

"The UAE crown prince is among one of Pakistan's good friends," Shehbaz said.

The Parliament further suggested a delegation of Parliament members should be sent to friendly countries.

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