ISLAMABAD, MAR 17 (DNA) – Pakistan has decided not to attend a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting hosted by India next week, highlighting growing tensions caused by the ongoing diplomatic standoff. An official of the Ministry of Commerce confirmed to the Express Tribune that the decision to boycott the informal meeting has been made at the highest level.
India had invited Pakistani Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik to attend the mini-ministerial gathering last month. Although Pakistan had not formally accepted the invitation, the minister was likely to attend the meeting and meet his Indian counterpart Suresh Prabhu.
Pakistan’s decision to skip the WTO meeting comes against the backdrop of an ongoing diplomatic stand-off between the two countries. Pakistan has accused India of harassing its diplomats and their families in New Delhi and has also recalled its High Commissioner for a briefing.
Apart from Pakistan, India has also invited ministers from Australia, China, European Union the US and several African countries to the conference starting on Monday.
The meeting will discuss challenges being faced by the multilateral trade body.