The refusal of Pakistan to attend the fifth Kuala Lumpur Summit (KLS) after confirming their attendance is being witnessed as a great diplomacy failure on part of Pakistan and the team of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan. Despite the chain of problems within the Muslim World, Pakistan was well aware of the dynamics of the situation, which should have been factored in while trying to bridge the gap between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. The position Pakistan has adopted right now takes away its autonomy and brings it right back to following the same foreign policy as that during the cold war - one of complete dictation by those who hold leverage over countries in need of assistance.

In this particular case as well, despite both Malaysia and Pakistan reaffirming that the KLS is not an alternative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Saudis strictly warned Pakistan against participation and holding off the aid that is being offered. This puts Pakistan in a weak position - one that the country cannot diplomatically afford. Moving forward into the new era, Pakistan needs to have a foreign policy independent of foreign demands because the current situation ended up upsetting not just Malaysia and Turkey as well and taking away Pakistan’s right to form ties according to its own needs and wants.

This particular debacle only points towards the lack of preparation and understanding on part of diplomatic efforts made by Pakistan. The Summit was being launched in Kuala Lumpur officially under Mahathir Mohamad this year. Pakistan’s participation would have granted the Summit the support that it needs to function alongside OIC as an independent body working for the cause of the Muslim World. Withdrawing from it not only puts weight behind the claims of the Saudi government but also does not achieve anything substantial when it comes to overcoming the challenges between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

If Pakistan can now get the two parties on the discussion table, things can move forward in a manner that will be likely to benefit all parties involved. For this, there is a need to strategise efficiently when it comes to diplomatic ventures. This will ensure that Pakistan does not have to backtrack on its own promises and the goals set for our own selves in terms of diplomacy.