Pakistan has reportedly decided to pull out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meet, which is scheduled to take place on March 19-20, in New Delhi, India.
According to the media reports, the decision of pulling out has been taken in the wake of on-going diplomatic stand-off between both the neighbouring countries.
Sources in the foreign ministry in Islamabad said the situation has changed after “repeated harassment of families of diplomats” and it was decided to skip the invitation, reported PTI.
“We cannot send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it,” according to a source.
He said India should also stop the alleged violations of the ceasefire on the Line of Control that led to death of civilians and also stop “atrocities” in Kashmir.
Last month, India had reportedly invited Pakistan’s Commerce Minister, Pervaiz Malik, to participate in the informal WTO meet and Malik had confirmed his attendance.
Reacting on the latest development, an Indian official was quoted by NDTV as saying, “It was Pakistan’s decision to pull out at the last minute, and the Indian side could not comment on it.”
According to the reports, Malik was earlier supposed to meet Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu.
India has also invited ministers from the US, European Union, Australia, China, New Zealand and several African countries.
Key WTO trade ministries from rich and developing economies will discuss challenges being faced by the multi-lateral organisation at a meeting being hosted by India in March.
The meeting, a sort of mini-ministerial, has been convened by India in the aftermath of failure of the trade talks at Buenos Aires last year on account of differences among the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
According to an official, the objective of the meeting is to initiate a free and frank discussion on various key issues and challenges facing the Geneva-based WTO.
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu had earlier said that the meeting will seek to revitalise the multi-lateral trade body.
(With agency inputs)