Hours after Sri Lanka joined India and 3 other countries in boycotting the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad, Pakistan finally announced that the summit has been postponed. A statement from Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that a new set of dates for holding of the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad will be announced soon.
“Decision by India to derail Summit effectively contradicts Prime Minister Modi’s own call to fight against poverty in the region,” Pakistan MOFA said.
Earlier on Friday, in yet another setback to Pakistan, Sri Lanka pulled out of 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad joining India and three other nations who had expressed their inability to participate in the summit.
“Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement here.
The General Provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well, it said in the brief statement.
Besides India, three other SAARC members - Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan - have pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.
That development came after tensions ran high between India and Pakistan after militants stormed an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18, killing 18 soldiers. The militants belonged to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group.
Founded in 1985, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) currently has Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as its Members.
(With inputs from agencies)