Amid boycott threats, Nawaz ‘hopes’ all Saarc members will attend summit

London/Islamabad, Sep 24 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he “hopes” all Saarc members would attend the upcoming summit in November, days after Afghanistan categorically voiced its interest in boycotting the meet.

Arriving in London after attending the UN General Assembly in New York, Sharif, to a question on the Saarc summit, said Pakistan was making preparations for the summit and hoped that all member states would attend the meet.

On September 20, Afghanistan Ambassador to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali in an interview to NDTV newschannel said: “I am sure most South Asian countries are in line with what we think. Therefore, the effort should be comprehensive and we should single out a country that spoils our unity and regional peace.”

“We have to draw a line between a country that sponsors terrorism and a country that is an ally in the war against terrorism. This difference must be made and should be made immediately,” the envoy added.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani also expressed “zero tolerance” towards terrorism and conveyed strong support in his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Afghanistan has been upset with Pakistan for allegedly sheltering Taliban attackers in the border areas.

On September 21, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali said: “No final decision has been taken by our Prime Minister regarding her participation.”

The 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit is scheduled to be held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad from November 9 to 10, 2016.

With relations between Pakistan and India taking a nosedive, uncertainty clouds the participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the summit.

A terror attack on a military base camp in Uri on September 18, which claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers, has escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.

–IANS

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