India Will Boycott Commonwealth Parliamentary Meet In Islamabad For Not Inviting J&K Speaker

NEW DELHI — India will boycott a Commonwealth Parliamentary Union meeting in Islamabad in September in protest against Pakistan not inviting the speaker of Jammu & Kashmir assembly, a decision that comes amid tensions over two terror attacks in Punjab and J&K.

"A meeting of speakers of all states here today unanimously decided that India will boycott the meeting of the CPU if the speaker of the Jammu & Kashmir assembly is not invited," Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told reporters after the meeting.

This follows Pakistan not sending an invitation to Jammu & Kashmir speaker to the inter-parliamentary union meeting to be held from September 30 to October 8 in Islamabad while invitations have been sent to all the other speakers in India.

The decision of the speakers come against the backdrop of simmering tensions between the two countries over the recent terror attacks in Gurdaspur in Punjab and near Udhampur in J&K by terrorists, perpetrated by terrorists who had infiltrated from Pakistan.

Mahajan said this was against a rule in the CPU in which all the speakers, who are members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), have to be extended an invitation to the CPU meeting.

"It is wrong (on the part of Pakistan). They cited an old rule of 1951-57 regarding their having raised an issue in the UN security council for not inviting Jammu & Kashmir speaker," she said adding it had lost relevance.

The Speaker said Pakistan gave this reply when India took up the matter strongly with the CPA chairperson and secretary general against leaving out Jammu & Kashmir speaker.

"We (31 speakers) reviewed this issue and felt this was wrong. We reject this decision (of Pakistan). We are writing to the CPA chairperson that if J&K speaker is not invited then India will not attend the meeting or change the venue (for us to attend)," she said.

J&K speaker Ravindra Gupta called Pakistan a terrorist state, and thanked the speakers for the decision saying it was a question of unity and integrity of the country.

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