Pakistan has pulled out of the World Trade
Organisation Summit in India as tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours
touched new heights.
Diplomatic sources said that “nobody will
attend the WTO meeting” in Delhi from Islamabad. “We have conveyed this
decision to India. We cannot send our commerce minister to India when they are
harassing our diplomats,” a senior government official told The Nation.
Another official said: “India cannot take
us for granted. They want to continue killing the Kashmiris, harass our diplomats,
conspire against us (Pakistan) and then invite us for meetings.”
He added: “India has been conveyed that we
will play for our own interests. They (India) have been asked to change their
policy before expecting us (Pakistan) to attend summits in New Delhi.”
Last month, India had invited Pakistan’s
Commerce Minister Pervez Malik to participate in the informal WTO ministerial
meeting taking place in New Delhi on March 19-20.
Pakistan had originally accepted the
invitation, extended after the Financial Action Task Force’s indication that
Pakistan will be put on the ‘grey list’ in June for allegedly failing to
control terror financing.
The invitation was part of December 2017
secret back-channel negotiations between the two National Security Advisers
Nasser Janjua and Ajit Doval.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
is also unlikely to participate in the WTO meeting called by India to discuss
ways to take forward important issues in the WTO.
India has invited Trade Ministers of over
50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan to discuss key issues related
with areas like agriculture and services.
Earlier, Pakistan recalled its High
Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood ‘for consultations’ after harassment of
Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi.
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammed
Faisal said that Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner’s vehicle carrying his
children was stopped for 40 minutes.
“The deliberate bullying is not confined
to a single isolated event, but continues unabated in a series of incidents,
while picture evidence is also present,” he said.
Dr Faisal said neither any such incident
occurred with Indian diplomats in Pakistan nor Indian High Commission had
informed them of such situation. “Pakistan can go to any limits for the
safeguard of its diplomats,” he added.
This week, Foreign Minister Khawaja
Muhammad Asif said that Pakistan does not expect improvement in ties with India
as New Delhi was sticking with a hostile policy towards Islamabad.
Asif said: “India is violating ceasefire
agreement time and again on the Line of Control and working boundary. In such
circumstances we are not expecting improvement in relations between the two
This came after the Foreign Minister had
told the National Assembly that India committed more than 400 ceasefire
violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary since January in
which 18 civilians were killed.
Asif said the LoC violations were an
attempt to divert the attention from the deteriorating humanitarian situation
in Held Kashmir.
In 2003, Pakistan and India had declared
ceasefire along the LoC but in the recent months, India violated the peace deal
Tensions between Pakistan and India have
been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, in July
An attack on Indian forces in September
2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of Held Kashmir - further heightened
the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a ‘surgical strike’ to avenge
the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian claim.
In January, Pakistan extended the MunaBao
(India)-Khokhrapar (Pakistan) rail link agreement with India for another three
years. Pakistan agreed to extend the agreement for another three years from
February 1. 2018 to January 31, 2021. The agreement was signed in 2006.
The Munabao- Khokhrapar train service
connects Pakistan’s Sindh and India’s Rajasthan provinces.
Recently, Pakistan had organised a ‘family
reunion’ for convicted Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav – dubbed India’s ‘face of
terror.’ Jadhav’s mother and wife – Avanti Jadhav and Chetenkul Jadhav –were
allowed to sit across a glass barrier for 40 minutes and speak to each other.
India, however, claimed Jadhav’s family
was mistreated and the meeting could have been conducted in a more relaxed
environment. Pakistan said a convicted spy deserved no facilities, adding, the
glass barrier was meant for security.