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Saarc summit called off, SAPM denies the cancellation

saarc conference called off

ISLAMABAD: Amid the growing tensions between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India, Islamabad has reportedly postponed the 19th Saarc conference, which was scheduled to be held in the federal capital in November.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup announced on Tuesday that India had pulled out of the Saarc conference. “Regional cooperation and terror don’t go together,” Swarup had tweeted.

After New Delhi’s announcement, Bangladesh on Wednesday said it had communicated its inability to attend the summit to current Saarc chair, Nepal.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit cannot take place if any one of the eight members withdraws.

Pakistan called India’s move “unfortunate” and said it remains committed to peace and regional cooperation.

However Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz has said in a statement given in the evening on Wednesday that meeting of heads of eight member states under auspices of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is not formally cancelled.

The 19th SAARC Summit is to be held in Islamabad in November this year which has been under the spotlight since Tuesday after Spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced boycott terming the environment “not conducive” to convene sessions in Pakistan.

It was claimed by the Indian media on Wednesday that three states; Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also pulled out of the conference following India.

Indian media, over the last month have taken deplorable liberty with its journalistic responsibilities by first falsely claiming cancellation of Russia-Pakistan military exercises and now with claims revolving around SAARC conference.

Responding to Indian propaganda of maligning Pakistan’s image internationally, Foreign Office stated that no official communication was made by the Indian government besides the informal announcement of the ministry on social media.

The spokesman for the Foreign Office, Nafeez Zakaria said that Pakistan remained committed to peace and regional cooperation by making efforts to bring all the countries together.

Narendra Modi’s refusal came as part of the agenda India has been following for decades which got a hard push this month after Brigade Headquarters of Indian army was attacked in Baramulla District of Indian-held Kashmir killing at least 18 soldiers.

India, habitual of using Pakistan as bulwark for its shortcomings and security lapse, out of which many around the world have termed its nuclear programme unsafe, once again blamed the neighbouring state responsible for the attack.

Earlier, the advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a session of the National Assembly in which he stated that India could not revoke Indus Water Treaty unilaterally, in place with Pakistan for at least 56 years.

He said that if India tried to suspend the treaty, there would be a befitting reaction from Pakistan.

Pakistan was gaining support of international community on the issue, he added.

It should be mentioned here that Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf convened a meeting with officials of the World Bank in United States capital to discuss the issue concerning the pact over water supply.

World Bank has assured help to Pakistan against Indian bullying.

According to the latest development in the issue Modi is to convene second meeting in past two weeks on Thursday to review the treaty.

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