Bangladesh Cancels SAARC Meet In Islamabad


Dhaka: The Bangladeshi Home Minister will not participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Home Ministers Conference which is scheduled to be held on August 3 and 4 in Islamabad.

Relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have not yet improved after the diplomatic row seven months ago when the two countries expelled each others’ diplomats in a tit for tat reply. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Home Ministers Conference, will take place in Islamabad.

Foreign Office sources informed that in the Conference, Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Pakistan, Tariq Ahsan, along with the Deputy Secretary Home Affairs of Bangladesh, one official each from immigration and foreign affairs will represent their country.

Sources further informed that in the Conference in Pakistan, the home minister/interior ministers of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives will represent their respective countries.

The Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, on Thursday confirmed in a weekly media briefing the participation of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the SAARC Home Ministers Conference.

He said that on the sidelines of the conference, his meeting with Pakistani counterparts is expected. The Indian media also confirmed the report about his attending the SAARC meeting earlier adding that he was likely to engage in bilateral meetings with his Pakistani Counterpart, Chaudhry Nisar.

But later on the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Spokesman, Vikas Swanup, in his tweet on Friday rejected his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the SAARC meeting.

“Let me categorically state that the home minister is going for the SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan” he said. Sources informed that in the 8th SAARC Finance Ministers Conference, Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abdul Maal Abdul Muhit, will represent his country, which would be held also in Islamabad on August 26. The SAARC FMs meeting agenda is to enhance regional cooperation in finance and investment. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has already invited his counterparts of the SAARC countries.

Last FM’s of SAARC was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in August 2015. These two ministerial conferences are actually aimed at making preparations for the SAARC Summit, which will be held in Pakistan in November this year.