South Asian Speakers’ Summit overlooks Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir

A day after India thwarted an attempt by Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue during the South Asian Speakers Summit in the Maldives, the Male declaration adopted by the meeting on Monday overlooked all assertions made by Islamabad on the issue. India and Pakistan had a heated exchange during summit on Sunday held in the Maldivian Parliament – Majlis – where the representatives of the South Asian countries had gathered. The South Asian Speakers Summit, while adopting the Male declaration, overlooked all assertions made by the Pakistani parliamentary delegation, sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat said. Pakistans Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri tried to raise the Kashmir issue during the discussion on Sustainable Development Goals. Thereafter, India immediately raised a point of order after which the presiding officer asked Suri to let the Indian representative, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, to speak, but he did not pay any heed, leading to commotion. In a strong response, Harivansh hit out at Pakistan for raising Indias internal issue and politicisation of the forum. Sources said Indias position on food safety, nutrition and jobs was prominently reflected in the Male Declaration. On the sidelines of the summit, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla held bilateral talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Wangchuk Namgyel. The Indian delegation also held detailed deliberations with the Parliamentary delegations from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka on matters of bilateral interest.