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Pak PM accuses India of ‘harming’ Saarc by ‘casting shadows of bilateral issues’

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif contended India had caused harm to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation on four occasions.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2017 09:10 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India-Pakistan relations,SAARC,the Maldives
Addressing a joint news conference with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in Male, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif said “India caused harm to the Saarc by seeking postponement” of the grouping’s summit in Islamabad last year.(AP File Photo)

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday accused India of harming the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and undermining the spirit of the regional forum.

Addressing a joint news conference with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in Male, Sharif said “India caused harm to the Saarc by seeking postponement” of the grouping’s summit in Islamabad last year.

This was not the first time that India harmed the forum as it “had done so on four occasions”, Sharif was quoted as saying by Pakistan’s state-run APP news agency.

India “undermined and violated the spirit of the Saarc charter by casting shadows of bilateral issues and problems on a multilateral forum for regional cooperation”, he added.

“We, however, remain grateful for President Abdulla Yameen’s support regarding the Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” he said.

Sharif and Gayoom agreed to work together to make Saarc a “vibrant organisation”.

The Saarc Summit in Islamabad last year collapsed after India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan decided to skip the meeting over concerns related to cross-border terrorism and interference in their internal affairs by Pakistan. The move followed a string of deadly attacks on Indian military facilities that were blamed on Pakistan-based terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Saarc Summit could not go ahead as the grouping’s charter states all decisions must be made by unanimity.

During his meeting with Gayoom, Sharif brought up what he described as the “brutal repression and gross human rights violations” by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. He also briefed Gayoom on Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism, saying this was the country’s contribution to peace and stability in the region.

Sharif also briefed Gayoom on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has been opposed by India because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The Pakistani leader will be the chief guest at the celebrations of the 52nd independence day of the Maldives on Wednesday.

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 22:38 IST