New Delhi: In fresh controversy, Pakistan again raised the Kashmir issue by refusing to invite the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker to a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference it is hoisting on the ground that the state is disputed territory India said it will boycott the meet and demanded the venue be shifted to some other country.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Friday that India will boycott the September 30-October 8 conference if Jammu and Kashmir Speaker Kavinder Gupta is not invited. She said Pakistan has invited the speakers of the other state assemblies for the nine-day conference but not the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker.
Addressing media persons, she said that at a meeting of the presiding officers of all state legislatures held on Friday, a decision was taken to boycott the Islamabad meeting.
“We have taken the decision that if Jammu and Kashmir speaker is not invited, then India will not participate. Either change the venue or India will not attend,” Mahajan said.
Though Pakistan has chosen not to invite the Jammu and Kashmir speaker this time, in March 2007, during the 3rd Asia and India Regional CPA Conference which was held in Islamabad, the Jammu and Kashmir Branch was invited by the Pakistan CPA Branch and three delegates from the state had participated in the conference.
The ministry of external affairs said that the “unilateral decision of Pakistan in not inviting Jammu & Kashmir CPA Branch to the 61st CPA Conference violates the provisions of the CPA Constitution, a fact which has been recognized by both CPA Secretariat and the chairperson of its Executive Committee. It also goes against the Commonwealth’s guiding principles of promotion of international understanding, world peace and democratic governance”.
“It is well known that CPA is a membership organization which has constitutionally been bound for over a century now to invite all its member branches to the CPA Annual Conference so long as a branch is in good financial standing with the association,” it said.