A proposed SAARC meeting was canceled after Pakistan’s objections that the annual gathering in New York would be “inappropriate” due to India’s ongoing atrocities in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) as well as the question of legal representation of Afghanistan, according to diplomatic sources here.
The SAARC Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting, scheduled for September 25, was proposed by Nepal reportedly at India’s behest.
Established in 1985, SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In view of the position taken by Pakistan, to which Sri Lanka agreed, Nepal was obliged, despite India’s urging to hold the meeting, to cancel it.
But tweets in the Indian press sought to give an impression that Pakistan had insisted that the Taliban government should be represented at the meeting.
“The slanted tweets emanating in Indian media are no doubt an attempt to cover India’s embarrassment caused by its ploy against Pakistan,” one diplomat remarked.
Rejoinder from Nepal Embassy
However, in an email to The Express Tribune, Counsellor Embassy of Nepal in Pakistan Paras Pandit said that the news was "far away from the truth".
He said that the Saarc Foreign Ministerial informal meeting has been an established forum of the foreign ministers of member states. "They meet at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York every year and take stock of the activities of SAARC and instruct further," he said, adding that this is the practice which was developed over the decades.
The envoy said that since Nepal is chairing Saarc, it was a duty of a chair to call the meeting according to the practice, and this year it could not take place because of lack of concurrence from all member states. Therefore, he added, whoever would have been in the chair position could have done the same.
"The meeting was called in accordance with the practice but not any member state's behest and it could not take place because of lack of concurrence."
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