Pakistan not to attend IPU Assembly in Dhaka

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, March 31 (IANS) Pakistan on Friday decided against participating in the 136th Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly, which is due to begin from April 1, in Dhaka.

A 10-member parliamentary delegation from Pakistan was due to participate in the international parliamentary meeting under the leadership of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

However, the decision has been taken in view of the "continued malicious and uncalled for propaganda and unfriendly attitude" of the Bangladesh government against the people and the state of Pakistan.

In a statement, Sadiq said members of the assembly have noted with dismay and disappointment the continuing actions and negative public statements of the leadership, public officials and media of Bangladesh despite Pakistan's restraint and overtures to the country.

"I have, therefore, decided not to travel to Bangladesh as a visit at this point will not serve the purpose," he said.

Amid India-Pakistan tensions, a number of countries, including Bangladesh, boycotted the SAARC Summit scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad last November, resulting in postponement of the Summit.

Parliamentarians, including 53 Speakers of Parliament, will make concrete proposals on a range of issues, from ending rising inequality to promoting women's access to financing, during the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The Speaker recalled that the Pakistani parliament had sincerely laboured to harness good friendly and brotherly relations with the people of Bangladesh.

"It was in this spirit that Pakistan's parliamentary delegation had unanimously voted in favour of the Speaker of Bangladesh Sharmeen Chaudhary for the post of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Cameroon in 2014," he said.

Chaudhary had won this election with a narrow margin of 82 votes in favour and 78 against with 10 votes of Pakistan going in her favour.

"However, it is noted with much regret that the friendly gestures were never reciprocated in the same coin. The Speaker of Bangladesh did not visit Pakistan despite repeated invitations," Sadiq noted.

The parliament of Bangladesh also boycotted all international parliamentary meet, organised by the parliament of Pakistan during the last two years despite personal requests by the highest parliamentary leadership.