After Kashmir Snub, India Boycotts Parliamentary Meet in Pak

NEW DELHI: India has decided to boycott the Commonwealth Speakers’ conference to be held in Islamabad later this month in protest against Pakistan’s decision not to invite the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, calling it a disputed territory.

“Today we held a meeting of the speakers from nearly 31 states and we have decided to write that if Jammu and Kashmir is not invited, we will not attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meet in Pakistan,” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told reporters in New Delhi. 

As many as 53 Commonwealth countries, including India and Pakistan, constitute the CPA. The members the London-based group, consisting of the heads of Parliaments of constituent countries and constitutional heads of their respective State legislatures (state branches), meet annually.

While Islamabad invited the representatives of all the Indian states to the nine-day conference starting September 30, no such invitation was sent to Jammu and Kashmir Speaker Kavinder Gupta. “Pakistan is a terrorist state. It appears Pakistan deliberately wanted to do this to humiliate India,” the BJP leader said. “Jammu and Kashmir is an inseparable part of India,” he added.

The government in Jammu and Kashmir is now run by a coalition between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP.

The CPA controversy comes close on the heels of twin terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur , which have a distinct Pakistan imprint. India is set to strongly take up with Pakistan the two strikes at the National Security Advisor-level talks later this month even as Islamabad has yet to respond to the dates proposed by New Delhi, but looks likely to accept. 

Pakistan has not yet responded to the August 23-24 dates proposed for the meeting between the NSAs of the two countries: Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz. The NSA talks, proposed at the July 10 landmark meeting between Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia’s Ufa, is mandated to discuss issues connected to terrorism.

On Thursday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the Udhampur terror attack and termed it an attempt by Pakistan to destabilise peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

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