SAARC summit "postponed indefinitely"

September 30, 2016 09:40 pm | Updated November 09, 2021 01:56 am IST - Islamabad

Sri Lanka joins others in opposing the summit under the ‘prevailing environment’

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was looking forward to welcome the SAARC leaders for their participation in the summit.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was looking forward to welcome the SAARC leaders for their participation in the summit.

Blaming India for derailing the SAARC Summit, Pakistan on Friday announced that the summit scheduled for November 9 and 10 in Islamabad will now be held on an alternate date, even as Sri Lanka joined others in opposing the summit under the “prevailing environment”. Nepal subsequently issued an official statement seeking an indefinite postponement of the summit.

“A new set of dates for holding of the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad will be announced soon, through the Chair of SAARC (Nepal). Accordingly we have conveyed the same to the Prime Minister of Nepal, the current Chair of SAARC,” a press release from the office of the Spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

On Friday, Sri Lanka joined India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh in demanding the summit should not be held.

“The General Provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well,” the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said in a statement, adding, “Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in a decisive manner”.

‘Focus on counter-terrorism’

ddressing the media in Delhi, Afghan envoy Shaida M. Abdali demanded that SAARC should focus on counter-terror initiatives.

“SAARC has to adopt a new approach to ensure security for South Asia. Our previous approach in dealing with terrorism did not work. So Afghanistan has taken the initiative to not participate in the Islamabad Summit. We would like to reach out (to Pakistan) but business as usual cannot continue as global patience with terrorism has grown thin,” Mr. Abdali said.

In its statement seeking an alternate date for the Summit, Pakistan blamed India for “impediments” for the event and said, “The decision by India to derail the Summit effectively contradicts Prime Minister Modi’s own call to fight against poverty in the region. India’s decision to abstain from the Summit on the basis of unfounded assumptions on the Uri incident is a futile effort to divert the attention of the world from the atrocities perpetrated by India in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.”

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