Disappointed at Pakistan skipping South Asian Speakers meet: IPU chief

Indore, Feb 18 (IANS) Inter-Parliamentary Union president and Bangladesh MP Saber Chowdhury on Saturday expressed disappointment at Pakistan not taking part in the South Asian Speakers Summit here and hoped that it would join the platform in near future.

In his remarks on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals at the Speakers Summit here, Chowdhury said that IPU strives for consensus and if the governments were not talking to each other, the parliamentarians should engage in dialogue.

“It’s a disappointment that Pakistan is not with us today. Of course it is not unusual for the governments (to strive) for consensus but we at the IPU believe that it’s absolutely critical. When the governments do not talk or stop talking, the parliamentarians should continue with engaged dialogue,” Chowdhury said.

Pakistan is not participating in the two-day meeting that is discussing poverty, development, environment and gender concerns in South Asia.

Pakistan’s decision is an apparent tit-for-tat over India’s boycott of the Saarc summit in Islamabad in November last year that got deferred as other members too pulled out.

Relations between the two countries have been strained after a terror attack at an Army camp in Uri, in Jammu and Kashmir, in September last year, and earlier another one in Pathankot. India has blamed both the attacks on Pakistan-based militants.

Chowdhury also said that countries impose sanctions against each other but the “sanction regime” should not apply to parliamentarians.

“Pakistan is not here but we hope that they will be joining this platform in near future,” he said.

IPU is a global organization for multilateral political and legislative discussions.

The meeting was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and is being attended by the presiding officers of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

–IANS

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