The showdown between Islamabad and New Delhi, resulting from the Pulwama attack, was the most dangerous phase in Indo Pakistan relations since the 1999 Kargil War. The situation almost spiralled out of control when New Delhi tried to commit acts of aggression not once but twice earlier in the week. Diplomatic intervention from regional and global powers along with the commendable peaceful overtures by Prime Minister Imran Khan reduced the almost war-like situation to some extent. Islamabad has, perhaps, hastily decided to boycott and apparently send junior officials to the 46th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s(OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers’ (CFM) being currently held in Abu Dhabi. Former president Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, amongst a number of parliamentarians, expressed valid concerns over the boycott since Pakistan may have lost a momentous opportunity to effectively convey its concerns and take other member countries of the organisation into confidence over the current diplomatic impasse and presence of the Indian delegation. While it’s true that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) invited the Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj as a ‘guest of honour’ for the inaugural session, Islamabad should have attended the remainder of the session since it was initially announced by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. However, the last-minute decision to boycott came after the UAE government couldn’t disinvite India. The OIC had played a significant role in the past when it came to the matter of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK). Its resolutions were always in solidarity with the Kashmiri people and their right to self-determination was acknowledged on numerous occasions. During the inception of the organisation in Morocco during the year 1969, India was refused admission when the then Pakistani leadership and diplomats lodged a strong protest. Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan was present on the occasion and he played a pivotal role in this regard. The regional and global scenarios have changed since then. Could we call it a failure of our diplomacy? While it’s too early to pass such judgements, it is hoped that Islamabad would introspect its decision to boycott and continue to remain engaged with this important multilateral platform. Building bridges should be a top priority and if one wishes to make friends and reduce the number of enemies, tough decisions must be made. * Published in Daily Times, March 2nd 2019.