Commonwealth meet shifted to New York as Pakistan backs out over J&K issue

21 August 2015

Pakistan on Thursday decided not to host next month's Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) meeting as planned amid a row with India over its refusal to invite the speaker of Jammu and Kashmir assembly for the conference.

New Zealand ParliamentSardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of Pakistan's national assembly, said Pakistan pulled back from hosting 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference as India's demand to invite the speaker of Jammu & Kashmir assembly cannot be accepted.

He said the event will now be held in New York.

India had threatened to boycott the CPC to be held in Islamabad from 30 September to 8 October after Islamabad refused to invite J&K assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta for the event.

The conference was to bring together speakers of Commonwealth nations in Islamabad.

"We have clarified to the London Secretariat of the Commonwealth that Kashmir is a disputed territory and now it is impossible for the Commonwealth Conference to be held in Pakistan," Sadiq told reporters.

"A detailed letter will be written to the CPA countries over the Kashmir dispute and the Kashmir issue will be raised on every forum of the Commonwealth," he added.

He said the Kashmir issue could not be overlooked at any cost and the assembly speaker would not be invited.

"The decision to hold the event in Pakistan was made on the basis that the Kashmir assembly speaker would not be invited to the conference," he said.

India had threatened to boycott the meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying, "A meeting of speakers of all states unanimously decided that India will boycott the meeting of the CPU if the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly is not invited."

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