India-Pakistan Relations: Islamabad pulls out of WTO summit

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By Muhammad Luqman

Pakistan has decided not to attend a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting hosted by India next week, highlighting growing tensions caused by the harassment of Pakistani diplomats by the Indian agencies 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.

According to media reports, the decision to boycott the informal meeting WTO meeting has been made at the highest level.

India had invited Pakistani Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik to attend the mini-ministerial gathering last month. Although Pakistan had not formally accepted the invitation, the minister was likely to attend the meeting and meet his Indian counterpart Suresh Prabhu.

Pakistan’s decision to skip the WTO meeting comes against the backdrop of an ongoing diplomatic stand-off between the two countries. Pakistan has accused India of harassing its diplomats and their families in New Delhi and has also recalled its High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood for consultation.

Apart from Pakistan, India has also invited ministers from Australia, China, European Union the US and several African countries to the conference starting on Monday. 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 .

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