Pakistan not to take part in WTO meet in New Delhi

Pakistan       by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

Commerce Minister Pervez Malik, who had earlier accepted India's invitation to join the informal WTO ministerial meeting scheduled for March 19 and 20, has decided not to attend.

Islamabad has called back its envoy from New Delhi, ostensibly for consultations, though reports suggest he may not return any time soon, or at least till the situation improves.

India has invited trade ministers of more than 50 nations including the US, China, and Pakistan to converse subjects related to agriculture and services.

Sources said, "On 18 March, second secretary at the High Commission was aggressively followed by unidentified people in a vehicle in close proximity in an intimidating manner while he was going to Chhaye Khana restaurant".

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"This deliberate bullying, which continues is not confined to a single isolated event, and continues unabated despite repeated official protests lodged with the Indian high commission here", Faisal was quoted as saying in The Express Tribune.

While of unfriendliness between India and Pakistan can been seen nearly daily in border areas, and Indian residential complex in Islamabad, sources reported about Pakistan decision to block access to all Indian government websites (gov.in) in May 2017.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was also facing a "litany of issues" that have not been resolved for several months.

Pakistan had initially accepted the invitation, but sources in Pakistan foreign ministry said the situation has changed after "repeated harassment of families of diplomats" and it was made a decision to skip the invitation, reported Business Standard (BS).

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India on Sunday hit out at Pakistan for denying its diplomats normal working conditions in Islamabad and sent another note verbale.

Pakistani officials even released a video of such "harassment", in which a white auto is seen blocking their diplomat's vehicle in Delhi and people on motorcycles abusing and filming the occupants. As a result of this, the High Commissioner of Pakistan Sohail Mahmood was asked to visit Islamabad at short notice for consultations.

However, New Delhi stressed that Pakistani official are not the only ones complaining.

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