US president Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia was a much publicized, high profile international affair. The oil-rich, ultra-orthodox kingdom is a long-standing ally and a key trade and strategic partner of the USA in the Middle East.
During Trump‘s visit, a 55 nation American Arab Islamic summit was also held. The summit was attended by the head-of-states of Muslim-majority nations from Jordan to UAE to Bangladesh to Indonesia. Pakistan was also invited.
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif attended the summit but he wasn’t given an opportunity to speak. Former Pakistani Army chief, General Raheel Sharif, who is also the chief of the Saudi-led Islamic military coalition was not asked to speak either. Nawaz Sharif prepared for his speech while on a flight from Islamabad to Riyadh. But at the summit, he was ignored by other leaders.
While discussing the menace of terrorism and its victims, Trump mentioned many countries, including Russia and India, but did not mention Pakistan. This didn’t go down well with the Pakistani media and columnists who wrote that Pakistan was once a Frontline State for USA and thousands of Pakistani citizens have died in terrorist attacks, but not even a passing mention of Pakistan as a victim of terrorism. They felt slighted and deemed it as unjust and indifferent to Pakistan.
Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned politician and chief of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) criticized Nawaz Sharif for staying silent when there were talks of isolating Iran and lamented that he was ignored and failed to mark his presence.