MALE: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accused India of “undermining” the spirit of the SAARC by “casting shadows” of bilateral issues on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation.
In a joint press conference with Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen here, Sharif yesterday said that the last Islamabad SAARC summit was not the first time that India caused harm to the SAARC by seeking its postponement.
“It had done so on four occasions,” he claimed.
After holding talks with Yameen, Sharif said Pakistan and the Maldives have agreed to work together to make the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) a vibrant organisation and a vehicle to realise their shared dreams for a peaceful and prosperous region.
“India undermined and violated the spirit of SAARC Charter by casting shadows of bilateral issues and problems on a multilateral forum for regional cooperation,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).
“We, however, remain grateful for President Yameen’s support regarding the SAARC summit in Islamabad,” he added.
Sharif said that during his talks with the Maldivian President he also raised the Kashmir issue.
India pulled out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad last year citing increased “cross-border” attacks after heightened tension with Pakistan over Uri terror attack.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also pulled out of the Summit indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which was not right for the successful holding of the meet, resulting in its collapse.
Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) slammed President Yameen for his “deafening silence” while Sharif attacked India during the press conference.
“President Yameen said nothing” when Sharif accused India of harming SAARC and claimed that both Maldives and Pakistan share similar views on SAARC, the opposition party, headed by ousted president Mohamed Nasheed, said in a statement.
“We are extremely concerned about Yameen’s refusal to clarify the Maldives’ position on the SAARC,” it said.
It said that by failing to correct Sharif at the press conference, Yameen had “effectively sided with the Pakistani version of events.”
“The SAARC summit in Islamabad had to be postponed because of continued instability in the region. Terror attacks in India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, as well as in Pakistan, made the timing and location unconducive to a high-level meeting,” the party said.