Pakistan to skip WTO meet in New Delhi


Islamabad: Pakistan has decided not to participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meet in New Delhi next week, as a protest against alleged harassment of its diplomats in India.

India last month invited Pakistan Commerce Minister Pervez Malik to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi on March 19-20 and Islamabad had initially accepted the invitation.

According to Sources, the situation has changed after “repeated harassment of families of diplomats” and it was decided to skip the invitation.

Foreign Ministery said, “We cannot send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it.” India should also stop the alleged violations of the ceasefire on the Line of Control that led to death of civilians and also stop “atrocities” in Kashmir.

Trade ministers of over 50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan were invited by India to discuss issues related to agriculture and services. The decision to stay away from WTO meeting in India coincided with the recalling of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood. Mahmood arrived here last evening for consultations after Pakistan alleged repeated harassment of its diplomats in New Delhi.

However, the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the high commissioner would stay back for an indefinite period or “until Indian agencies stop intimidating the staff and families of their diplomatic mission” in New Delhi.

“In other words, Pakistan recalled its envoy to New Delhi as a protest till the situation improves”. The official justified the move, insisting that under current circumstances it was not possible for the high commissioner to operate out of New Delhi. “Children have never been harassed even when two countries have had the worst of relationship”.

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