Pak refuses to host Commonwealth meet, venue shifts to New York
Pakistan announced on Thursday that it will not host next month's Commonwealth Parliamentary Union meeting amid a row with India over its refusal to invite the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir to the conference. The meeting will now be held in New York.Updated: Aug 21, 2015 00:18 IST
Pakistan Parliament speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said on Thursday that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) event scheduled to be held in Islamabad in September will now be held in New York, in a move that was considered a major victory by India.
The announcement came amid a raging controversy, with India indicating that it would boycott the event since the speaker of Jammu and Kashmir assembly, Kavinder Gupta, was not invited.
In New Delhi, sources suggested India had appealed to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union secretariat to shift the venue. They claimed India got support from several other countries.
For his part, Sadiq said: “We have clarified to the London Secretariat of Commonwealth that Kashmir is a disputed territory and now it is impossible for the Commonwealth Conference to be held in Pakistan."
“Pakistan cannot overlook the cause of Kashmir at any cost," he added.
The conference was to bring together speakers of Commonwealth nations in the Pakistani capital.
"A detailed letter will be written to the CPA countries over the Kashmir dispute and the Kashmir issue will be raised on every forum of the Commonwealth," Sadiq said.
He said the Kashmir issue could not be overlooked at any cost and the assembly speaker would not be invited.
"The decision to hold the event in Pakistan was made on the basis that the Kashmir assembly speaker would not be invited to the Conference," he said.
Indian Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan had recently said: "A meeting of speakers of all states unanimously decided that India will boycott the meeting of the CPU if the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly is not invited."
Government sources told HT that now the J-K speaker would be joining the Indian delegation in New York.
First Published: Aug 20, 2015 19:17 IST