Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pakistan not invited to parliamentary meet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
Frozen Indo-Pakistan ties took its first toll of the new year with Islamabad not being invited to the three-day International Parliamentary Conference (IPC), beginning here from tomorrow for marking the golden jubilee of Indian Parliament and to focus on the issue of international terrorism.

Over 170 parliamentarians from 85 countries will participate in the conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi told newspersons here today.

The Speaker replied in the negative when asked whether Pakistan was invited. “No one has been invited from Pakistan. Member countries of the Commonwealth and International Parliamentary Union (IPU) have been invited to the meet and Pakistan is not a member now”, he said.

The omission of Pakistan from the conference is attributed to observations made by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) which termed the recently held parliamentary elections in Pakistan as “sham”. In fact, the CMAG had even recommended that Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth should not be revoked.

He said except Pakistan all the neighbouring countries had been called for the conference, including Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

On Myanmar, he first said it had been invited but had not sent any representative. When told later that a junta was in power there, he said he would have to check up whether that country had been invited.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the three-day conference in the Central Hall of Parliament tomorrow. Vice-President and ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi will address more than 170 delegates from about 85 countries, besides members of parliament and presiding officers of state legislatures.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman K.C. Pant will deliver the keynote address on the theme of “Combating terrorism”.

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