Commonwealth meet shifted to New York

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday announced 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 & Kashmir assembly for the conference. 

India had threatened to boycott the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to be held here from September 30 to October 8 after Islamabad refused to invite Jammu & Kashmir assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta for the event.

The conference was to bring together speakers of Commonwealth nations in Islamabad. 

“We have clarified to the London Secretariat of the Commonwealth that Kashmir is a disputed territory and now it is impossible for the Commonwealth Conference to be held in Pakistan,” National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq told reporters. 

He said the event will now be held in New York. 

“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. 

India had threatened to boycott the meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying, “A meeting of Speakers of all states unanimously decided that India will boycott the meeting of the CPU if the Speaker of the Jammu & Kashmir assembly is not invited.”

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