Pak declines India invite to attend Speakers' Summit

Pak declines India invite to attend Speakers' Summit
Amidst chill in Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan has declined an invitation by Indian Parliament and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to attend South Asian Speakers' Summit to be held next month. "Pakistan and Myanmar which were among the countries in the South Asian nations invited to the Speakers' meet in Indore on February 18-19 have declined the invitation," official sources in New Delhi said.

India had invited the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Sardar Auaz Sadiq, for the regional summit. In Islamabad, a senior official said Sadiq would not be able to participate in the summit due to crucial national engagements. The official told PTI that the schedule of the summit clashes with an important session of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

"The Speaker would be needed to chair the crucial session and we have already conveyed this to India," the official said. The Summit, which is primarily an IPU initiative and not a SAARC activity, will be attended by Speakers of Parliament from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka among other countries, the sources said.

Significantly, in 2015, India had boycotted a Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) meeting in Islamabad to protest against Pakistan's decision to not invite the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. The discussions during the Speakers' Summit on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will update the participants on implementation of the SDGs in their region and globally.

Special emphasis will be laid on sharing experiences and increasing understanding about how parliaments in the region institutionalise the global goals, capture the synergies and build coherence at the policy level, IPU said on its website.
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