ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Thursday accused India of “scuttling” the process to reconvene the SAARC summit in Islamabad and “holding hostage” the development and economic progress of the whole region.
India has said that it was difficult to proceed with the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) initiative under current circumstances, citing Pakistan’s continuing support to cross-border terrorism.
The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad but after a major terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances” and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.
The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate.
Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, addressing the press briefing through video conferencing from Beijing, said that the SAARC summit was “regrettably scuttled” by India.
He said, “Pakistan condemns the attempt to bring the bilateral issues into multilateral forums. Indian belligerence has brought this multilateral forum to a halt, holding hostage the development and economic progress of the whole region”.
Pakistan was committed to hold the already-delayed summit in Islamabad at the earliest, Faisal said.
Pakistan would tirelessly continue to highlight the plight of innocent Kashmiris at all relevant forums, until Indian human rights atrocities come to a complete halt and the dispute was resolved in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, the spokesman said.
He said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif spoke to the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Turkey, and Secretary General Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on the Kashmir issue.
SAARC Summits are usually held biennially, hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association.
The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu.