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After Kashmir row, Pakistan axes Commonwealth meet

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday refused to host the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference after declining to change its stance on not inviting the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

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Ayaz Sadiq

The announcement was made by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who said Pakistan would not compromise on its stand on Jammu and Kashmir which it considers a disputed territory.

India had threatened to boycott the meet, scheduled here from September 30 to October 8, if an invite was not extended to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly Speaker, Kavinder Gupta.

Pakistan, which supports a dragging separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, had argued that it cannot invite Gupta as that would amount to legitimizing the state legislature. India refused to accept this.

Radio Pakistan reported that the National Assembly decided not to host the Commonwealth meet after a tele-conference with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on Wednesday.

The National Assembly Secretariat said Pakistan had agreed to host the conference “with a view to strengthening democracy, dialogue and cooperation” among the developing countries in the grouping.

“At no point had the Pakistan parliament shown even a distant sign of flexibility on its principled and historic stand on Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.

“The unsettled dispute remains (a) flashpoint … and is very much alive on the United Nations agenda.”

India, the world’s largest democracy, had urged the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to shift the conference venue to another country if Pakistan remained inflexible.

(IANS)

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India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)