Sartaj Aziz confirms SAARC summit postponement

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Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has confirmed that a three-day SAARC summit was suspended on Wednesday, a day after India and some other countries pulled out of the conference.
The key summit was scheduled to be held in Islamabad from November 9 to 11.
Islamabad said that Pakistan would not budge from its principled stance on the Kashmir conflict. “Whenever SAARC conference is held, it will be hosted by Pakistan,” Aziz maintained.
The move comes a day after Indian said that it was pulling out of the key summit in the wake of a militant on its military base in occupied Kashmir.
It said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad in November.
Without naming Pakistan, India’s foreign ministry said “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country” had created an environment that was not conducive for a meeting.
Hours later, Bangladesh said it was also pulling out. Afghanistan and Bhutan — both close India allies — have since followed suit, according to a SAARC official who asked not to be named.
“Pakistan has been interfering in our internal affairs for some time,” a senior Bangladesh foreign ministry official told foreign news agency, requesting anonymity. “That’s why we have pulled out of the SAARC summit.”
Under pressure to act after the Kashmir raid, Modi warned Pakistan in a major speech on Saturday that India would push to make it a pariah state.
Pakistan denies any involvement in the attack, the worst of its kind in over a decade.

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