ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has decided not to participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meet in New Delhi next week, as a protest against alleged harassment of its diplomats in India.
India had invited Pakistan commerce minister Pervez Malik to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 19 and 20 March.
Islamabad had initially accepted the invitation last month, however, sources in the foreign ministry confirmed that the situation had changed after repeated harassment of families of diplomats.
The invitation was part of December 2017 secret back-channel negotiations between the two National Security Advisers Nasser Janjua and Ajit Doval and it is believed that Pakistan okayed its participation after the Financial Action Task Force’s indication that Pakistan will be put on the ‘grey list’ in June for allegedly failing to control terror financing.
The decision to pull out of WTO meeting comes on the heels of recalling of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood who arrived in Islamabad on Friday for consultations after harassment of its diplomats in New Delhi.
The Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal during the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday said that deliberate maltreatment of diplomats and their families by India was not confined to a single event and continues unabated despite our protest.
For the WTO summit, India has invited Trade Ministers of over 50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan to discuss key issues related with areas like agriculture and services.