The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers conference cancelled due to Pakistan’s requests on Taliban participation, as per the reports. The meeting was intended for September 25 in New York on the grounds of the high-level 76th UN General Assembly session.
As per the sources, all SAARC member nations are united in their rejection to Pakistan’s proposal.
The conference was held in continuing of a trend of informal interactions between the grouping’s foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was one of the attendees.
Pakistan also urged that no members from the Afghan government, headed by Ashraf Ghani, be permitted to participate the SAARC foreign ministers’ meeting.
“The conference has been cancelled because the SAARC Chair Nepal has declined to provide any such assurance to Pakistan or the Taliban leadership,” the sources reported.
Taliban Rule Commanded by the Head of Insurgent Group Mullah Akhund
In the Taliban rule commanded by Mullah Akhund, head of the insurgent group’s most crucial- judgement call body, the Rehbari Shura, Amir Khan Muttaqi was chosen acting foreign minister. Only a handful of countries have acknowledged the Taliban administration as the rightful government of Afghanistan.
On August 15, the Taliban overthrown Afghanistan’s democratically established administration and Taliban proclaimed the creation of a temporary cabinet to govern the country’s operations after the pullout of US troops from Kabul on August 31.
Meeting Cancelled Due To Lack of Agreement among All Member States
The Nepalese Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, published a statement stating the meeting had been cancelled owing to “lack of agreement among all Member States.”
Since the last biannual conference in Kathmandu in 2014, the SAARC has not been highly functional.
Afghanistan is the Newest SAARC Member
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are the 8 representatives of SAARC. Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States all have observer position.
On January 17, 1987, the SAARC Supervisory board was constituted in Kathmandu. In March of previous year, Weerakoon, a Sri Lankan diplomat, was designated Secretary-General of the SAARC. He is the SAARC’s 14th Secretary-General.
SAARC Summit of 2016 Was Also Cancelled
Islamabad was intended to host the 2016 SAARC Summit. However, following a terrorist major terrorist attack on an Indian Military camp in Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, on September 18, that year, India clearly indicated that it is unable to attend the summit due to “existing circumstances.”
After Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan refuse to join the Islamabad meeting, the summit was cancelled.
SAARC Should Handle Hurdles Like Cross Border Terrorism: S Jaishankar, SAARC Meet 2019
On the other hand, frictions between India and Pakistan have risen after central government abolished the unique status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized last year at the digital SAARC foreign ministers informal conference that the SAARC should handle three critical hurdles: cross-border acts of terrorism, connectivity blockage, and commercial hindrance, a direct condemnation of Pakistan.
The summit was held digitally last year owing to the Covid-19 epidemic.