It is disappointing that Pakistan will not be attending the Kuala Lumpur summit this year, but this in no way implies that the government is choosing one diplomatic relationship over another. Malaysia is a close ally of Pakistan and has consistently displayed its commitment to side with us on matters as important as the Kashmir issue.

We have other key partners in the Muslim world as well, and with the confusion surrounding this conference, Pakistan has chosen to err on the side of caution until the matter becomes clearer for everyone involved. Pakistan’s influence and responsibility in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the first Muslim nuclear power and as a founding member entail that we help clear any misunderstandings in the Ummah.

With speculation on the objectives of the summit in Malaysia, it is positive that the Pakistani government has attempted to clear the air before officially attending. The summit is not being set up in opposition to the OIC.

In the current climate in global politics, our allies in influential Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia are all needed to fight the Islamophobic narrative and instances of hate that have become commonplace. The Muslim community needs all the forums it can create to take up the wide variety of issues that are plaguing the religious group all over the world.

After all, everyone can agree that certain issues capture the global imagination more than others, and tend to take precedence. Change is inevitable if the present situation leaves something to be desired. Pakistan knows this better than others.

The plight of Muslims in Indian Occupied Kashmir, Myanmar and others tend to take a backseat at forums such as the United Nations; in fact, this is exactly why the OIC came into being in the first place. If there is room for improvement in reference to certain issues, new voices will take up any remaining space.

The rise of leaders such as Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and President Erdogan is a welcome development. These allies and Pakistan can work together to take ownership of all problems faced and voice their concerns wherever possible, in forums both old and new. One can only imagine that all Muslim countries stand on the same page in this, given the strength of the opposition and its attempts to build a narrative against Islam.