India to boycott C’wealth Parl meet hosted by Pakistan

RSTV Bureau

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan at the meeting of Speakers from state assemblies in New Delhi on Friday. Photo – PTI

India is set to boycott the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad after the host nation Pakistan decided not to extend an invite to the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly. The Inter Parliamentary meeting of the Commonwealth nations known as the CPA, where the participating nations are represented by the Speaker of their Parliament and state assemblies, is slated to be held in Islamabad from September 30 to October 8.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday held the meeting of assembly speakers where a unanimous decision was taken to boycott the meet if Pakistan doesn’t invite the JK assembly Speaker.

“A meeting of Speakers of all states here today unanimously decided that India will boycott the meeting of the CPU if the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is not invited,” Ms Mahajan told the press post her meeting with assembly Speakers.

During the meeting, Mahajan also added that not sending an invite to the JK assembly speaker was against a rule in the CPU in which all the Speakers, who are members of the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association (CPA), have to be extended an invitation.

“We reject this decision. We are writing to the CPA Chairperson that if JK Speaker is not invited then India will not attend the meeting or change the venue,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.

army-encounterThe on-going tiff between the two countries due to terror attack and continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan forces has also added another dimension to the issue. For over a month now, Pakistan forces have indulged in firing and heavy shelling at the LoC and International border, which has led to the killing of two civilians apart from injuries to many others, including BSF jawans and the army personnel.

Also, the Union government has claimed that the assailants involved in recent terror attacks in Gurdaspur (Punjab) and Udhampur (Jammu) had come from Pakistan. Though, Pakistan on its part refused to acknowledge the claims of Indian government.

The BJP-led NDA government has also criticised Pakistan’s stand of not inviting JK Assembly speaker to the Commonwealth meet.

“Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference without India is incomplete and India without J-K is incomplete. Hope better sense prevails on Pakistan,” Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu posted on a micro-blogging site twitter.

Meanwhile, reacting to the boycott decision as announced by India, Pakistan CPA representative Mian Tariq Mahmood said such a move would lead to no outcome and that “if a person has not been invited, then India should not sabotage the entire conference”.

(With inputs from the PTI)