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Pakistan Declines India Invite to Attend Speakers' Summit

A Pakistani Ranger stands near the Pakistani flag and Indian flag during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check post at Wagah border, on the outskirts of Lahore on February 26, 2010. (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

New Delhi: 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 said.

However, officials did not elaborate on the reasons given by Pakistan and merely noted that these two countries have written that they will not be able to attend the meet.

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.