India can skip Commonwealth meet, will not invite J-K Speaker, says Pakistan

(From Press Trust of India)

Refusing to budge from its stand, Pakistan says come what may, it will not invite the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Islamabad and if India boycotts the meeting, it is “their choice”.


“Pakistan will not invite the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to the (CPC) (next month). The assembly of Kashmir is not legitimate so we will not accept it,” National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said.

“If India does not attend the conference, because of the Kashmir issue, it is their choice. We cannot budge from our stand,” he said.

Pakistan has invited the Speakers of the Indian Parliament and the state assemblies but has refused to invite Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta.

India has threatened to boycott the conference, to be held in Islamabad from September 30 to October 8.

Sadiq was quoted by Dawn News as saying that Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir was clear. The Kashmir issue was on the UN agenda and had been an “unsettled dispute” since 1947.

Earlier, India’s envoy to Pakistan T.C.A. Raghavan said Pakistan broke protocol by not inviting the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly for the Commonwealth meeting.

The Dawn newspaper on Sunday quoted Raghavan as saying at a book release function in Islamabad that Pakistan had invited delegations from Jammu and Kashmir in the past.

Speaking at the same function, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz said his country would never invite a Jammu and Kashmir Speaker as the legislature “does not enjoy legitimate status”.

“We cannot invite the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly as the assembly does not enjoy legitimate status because it represents a disputed territory, which needs to be settled in the light of the UN resolutions,” he was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.

Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir would be compromised if the speaker of the “Kashmir’s legislature is invited to the conference”, Aziz said.

NSA-level talks under cloud?

Meanwhile, the prospects of talks between the national security advisers (NSA) of the two countries proposed by New Delhi  appeared grim as Pakistan summoned the Indian High Commissioner to the Foreign Office and lodged a strong protest over the latest ceasefire violation across the Line of Control (LoC) leading  to the the death of a Pakistani civilian, Dawn reported.

The Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh was summoned to the Foreign Office by the Director General (SA) to lodge a formal protest with the Government of India over the killing of a Pakistani civilian.

Pakistan also condemned the latest “unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian security forces” at the LoC in Nakial sector near Kotli and Bhimber Gali sector on August 9, in which Pakistani posts were targeted.

The Indian envoy was asked to ensure that the Ceasefire Understanding of 2003 is adhered to to create peace and tranquillity along the LoC.

Islamabad has not confirmed on the NSA-level talks proposed by India on August 23 and 24.



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