Oppn Parties Differ On Imran Khan’s India Visit For SCO

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NEW DELHI – Leaders of several opposition parties differed on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s possible visit to India this year as some remained guarded and others said they supported the government in its decisions on foreign affairs.

Imran Khan could be in New Delhi as India will play host to the annual meeting of the council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) later this year. However, it remains unclear whether he will accept an invite that India is going to send out.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said that since India, as a host, has to extend an invitation to Pakistan, the party would reserve its comments.

“It would be Pavlovian to comment on the development at this moment. As a host country, India is bound to invite Pakistan. We don’t know yet if Pakistan would accept,” said Sharma.

The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP’s) Majeed Memon said that when it comes to external affairs, the party stands with the government. It is only on internal matters like the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Population Register that the party stands opposed to the government.

“We want cordial relationships with our neighbours and a shrewd and successful diplomatic policy by the Indian government. We need India to articulate among global partners that it is a victim of terrorism emanating from one’s neighbourhood,” said Memon.

He added that it will be in Pakistan’s interest, as well, to understand that Kashmir is a bilateral issue which can only be discussed on the table in a peaceful manner.

“There’s no room for intimidation,” he added.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha said that there is a complete lack of consistency on the government’s position on Pakistan.

“At one point we are severing ties, and at another, we are inviting them. Mature democracies do not work like that,’ Jha said.

India will be hosting the meeting of the council of heads of government of the China-led SCO for the first time this year.

India and Pakistan were admitted to the eight-member economic and security bloc in 2017, sixteen years after it was founded in 2001 by Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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