After J&K Snub, India Threatens To Boycott Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference In Pakistan

7 August 2015
Firstpost
Swati Deb

New Delhi: To drive home the point that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an 'integral' part of India, the Speaker of Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan and Speakers of state Assemblies are likely to announce a boycott of the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to be held at Islamabad in September-October this year. Pakistan has not issued an invitation to the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Kavinder Gupta. 'The invitation accorded from the host country (Pakistan) has surprisingly and in utter disregard of parliamentary decorum, left out Jammu and Kashmir. This is unprecedented and unacceptable', a high-ranking source in the Parliament told Firstpost on Friday. File photo of Indian Parliament. Reuters File photo of Indian Parliament. Reuters According to sources, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Pakistan and the CPA Headquarters Secretariat will host the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad between 30 September and 8 October. This year's theme is 'Renewing the commitment to pluralism and inclusive democracy in the Commonwealth', and discussions will also cover general discussions on issues such as religious freedom, parliamentary action on terrorism, the economic impact of gender-based violence, and a debate on the role of the media in political and public life. Mahajan is holding a meeting of state Assembly Speakers in the capital later on Friday to pass a formal resolution against the host country's approach. According to sources, a resolution will be passed to request the CPA Pakistan and CPA Secretariat in London to 'ensure issuing of invitation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association branch of Jammu and Kashmir'. The Indian CPA's position is that the non-issuance of such an invite will warrant a 'boycott' of the Islamabad meet. Not extending an invitation to the Jammu and Kashmir CPA is 'unacceptable' as the CPA unit of Jammu and Kashmir state is 'very much a bonafide member of the CPA'. The CPA was originally founded in 1911 and at present has 53 members. India, along with several other countries joined only at a later stage. Pakistan and its provinces were active members of CPA till the military coup in 1999 when Gen Pervez Musharraf took over powers. 'They (Pakistan and its provincial assemblies) were allowed to rejoin the CPA again in 2004,' sources said. The CPA Secretariat is located in London and it maintains 'close relations' with branches across the globe, and promotes cooperation among them.