We're Live Bangla Sunday, October 17, 2021

PAKISTAN WANTED TALIBAN TO REPRESENT AFGHANISTAN IN SAARC MEETING

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A meeting of foreign ministers of member nations of the South Asian Association of Regional Association (SAARC) was cancelled as Pakistan reportedly insisted on having the Taliban as representatives of Afghanistan.

Multiple reports suggested India and some other member nations were against the proposal, following which the meeting had to be cancelled due to “lack of concurrence”. The new Taliban regime is yet to be officially recognised by most nations, including India which has raised questions on the non-inclusive nature of its government. A number of its top ministers are blacklisted by the United Nations.

The Saarc is a regional intergovernmental organisation of South Asian countries -- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan was the latest entrant to the bloc in 2007.

Pakistan is said to have initially agreed to an empty chair as a representative of the war-torn nation, but was not willing to let any official from the previous Ashraf Ghani-led government take part in the meeting. It had then proposed that a Taliban member may take part in the event that was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York this week. Soon after, disagreement cropped up and the meeting of the bloc was eventually called off. Nepal was scheduled to host the talks.

 An official letter sent by the Saarc secretariat to the foreign ministries of the eight countries on Tuesday said it had received a note verbale or unsigned diplomatic correspondence from Nepal’s foreign ministry that stated the informal meeting of foreign ministers, which was to be held on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, “will not take place” because of the “lack of concurrence from all member states”.