Pak refuse to host C’wealth meet as India stands firm

RSTV Bureau

pakistan_flagIn a move that may bolster India’s stand, Pakistan on Thursday backed out of hosting next month’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Union meeting in Islamabad. India has already threatened to boycott the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad after the host nation decided not to invite speaker of Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly. Pakistan, however, had sent an invite to the Speakers of other state assemblies.

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 scheduled to be held in Islamabad from September 30 to October 8.

The event now stands under the cloud after the host nation decided to not host it.

“We have clarified to the London Secretariat of the Commonwealth that Kashmir is a disputed territory and now it is impossible for the Commonwealth Conference to be held in Pakistan,” National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq told press in Pakistan national capital Islamabad.

“A detailed letter will be written to the CPA countries over the Kashmir dispute and the Kashmir issue will be raised in every forum of the Commonwealth,” Ayaz Sadiq added.

Earlier this month, reacting to Pakistan organisers refusing to send an invite to J&K assembly speaker, Indian side had decided to boycott the meet.

sumitra_mahajan

FILE: File photo of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan at an event in New Delhi. Photo – PTI

“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 on August 8.

During the meeting, Mahajan also added that not sending an invite to the J&K 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 J&K Speaker is not invited then India will not attend the meeting or change the venue,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.

The last few weeks have seen an accentuation in Indo-Pak tension due to terror attack in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, and continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan forces resulting in the killings of 7 civilians. Even the much anticipated NSA-level talks between Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi remains under speculation post the Pakistan High Commission’s move to hold a meeting between Kashmiri separatist leaders and Aziz.

(With inputs from the PTI)