NEW DELHI:India will boycott a Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) meeting in Islamabad in September in protest against Pakistan not inviting the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
A meeting that took place in Parliament passed a resolution which said Pakistan had violated “the century-old tradition of CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) which is a membership organization that has constitutionally been bound to invite all its member Branches to the CPA Annual Conference”.
The Ministry of External Affairs reacted strongly to Pakistan’s move. “The unilateral decision of Pakistan in not inviting Jammu & Kashmir CPA Branch to the 61st CPA Conference violates the provisions of the CPA Constitution, a fact which has been recognized by both CPA Secretariat and the chairperson of its Executive Committee,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
Meanwhile, the resolution urged Dr Shirin Chaudhury, speaker of Bangladesh Parliament and Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee, to immediately resolve the matter, failing which India, including the Union and State branches, would boycott the conference in Islamabad.
Sources pointed out that the Lok Sabha speaker had already spoken to the Bangladesh speaker, who is chairing the CPA.
Mahajan said Pakistan had expressed “constraint” in inviting Jammu and Kashmir Speaker citing an old rule which was “irrelevant” now as the state had participated in such a conference in 2007.
“We (31 Speakers) reviewed this issue and felt this was wrong. We reject this decision (of Pakistan). We are writing to the CPA chairperson that if the J and K speaker is not invited then India will not attend the meeting or change the venue (for us to attend),” Mahajan added.