Pakistan has decided to pull out of the World Trade Organisation meeting which is to be held in New Delhi next week. The move comes as protest post the alleged harassment of its diplomats in India.
The Pakistan Commerce Minister Pervez Malik was invited by Indian delegation to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meeting which is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on March 19 and March 20.
Islamabad had initially accepted the invitation and agreed to be a part of the WTO meeting, but foreign ministry sources said that the situation changed after ‘repeated harassment of families of diplomats’ and it was decided to skip the meeting.
A source said, “We cannot send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it.”
Speaking on the ceasefire violations, the source said that India should stop the alleged violations on the Line of Control (LoC) and also put an end to the ‘atrocities’ in Kashmir.
The Pakistan government’s decision to stay away from the WTO meeting coincides with that of recalling Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood. Mehmood was recalled to Islamabad after alleged harassment of diplomats in India.
Mehmood arrived in Pakistan a day after the Foreign Office spokesman said that he was being summoned only for consultation ‘due to non-stop harassment of the families of diplomats.’
Official sources of the ministry said that Mehmood will brief the top officials about the situation in India. Sources said, “A decision to how address the situation will be made after the consultations.”
However, the officials said that the decision to send back Mehmood for an indefinite period is yet not confirmed as talks were on the table for declaring New Delhi as a non-family station. Meanwhile, the officials sidelined allegations that Indian diplomats were facing problems and harassment in Pakistan.
Sources were quoted saying, “Our high commissioner will not return to India anytime soon. In other words, Pakistan recalled its envoy to New Delhi as a protest till the situation improves.”