Pakistan might skip WTO meet in New Delhi over “harassment” charges

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Pakistan has decided to not take part in the World Trade Organization meeting in New Delhi next week as a protest over alleged harassment of its diplomats in India. India had invited Pakistan commerce minister Pervez Malik last month to take part in the informal WTO ministerial meeting planned to be held in New Delhi on March 19-20 and Islamabad had first accepted the invitation.

The sources in the foreign ministry revealed that the situation has altered following “repeated harassment of families of diplomats” and it was decided to give a miss to the invitation. “We cannot send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it,” as per a source. He added that India must also stop the alleged violations of the ceasefire on the Line of Control that led to the death of civilians and also stop “atrocities” in Kashmir. India has invited trade ministers of more than 50 nations including the US, China, and Pakistan to converse subjects related to agriculture and services.

The decision to skip WTO meeting in New Delhi coincided with the recollecting of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood. On Friday evening, Mahmood arrived for consultations following Pakistan claimed repeated harassment of its diplomats in New Delhi. In the meantime, Pakistan is considering choices to deal the situation aftermath calling back of its High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood from New Delhi due to alleged harassment of diplomats in India. The officials rejected the allegations that Indian diplomatic staff was also facing obstacles and harassment in Pakistan. The Express Tribune quoted a senior foreign official as saying that “our high commissioner will not return to India soon”.

The Express Tribune reported that primarily it was thought he would return to India following consultations with authorities. It reported that “In other words, Pakistan recalled its envoy to New Delhi as a protest till the situation improves”. The official defended the move, asserting that current situations it was not possible for the high commissioner to operate out of New Delhi. “Children have never been harassed even when two countries have had the worst of relationship,” he said.

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