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PAK-INDIA face-off at 4th South Asia Speaker Summit in Maldives

The delegations of Indian and Pakistani parliamentary speakers exchanged heated words in the Maldives Parliament. The respective delegations from six countries; Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Afghanistan Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka attended the fourth South Asian Speakers Summit on achieving Sustainable Development Goals.  

The Indian delegation protested, when Mr. Qasim Suri, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, raised the issue over human rights violation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. “We cannot ignore the plight of Kashmiris facing oppression”, said Mr. Suri.  Harivansh  Singh, Deputy Chairman of the Indian Rajya Sabha protested, “We strongly object to raising of the internal matter of India in this forum. We also reject the politicization of the forum by raising issues which are extraneous to the theme of the summit”.  

In response to Singh’s objection, Pakistani Senator Quratulain Marri said, “SDGs for women and youth, nothing can be achieved without human rights. The atrocities being meted out on Kashmiri population”. It is reported by several sources that hundreds of Kashmiris have been abducted from the valley by Security Forces.  

This is when Maldivian Parliament Speaker Mohammed Nasheed intervened and tried to stop the heated exchange of words. As per the claims by Indian Media, the Maldivian Administration assured India that all the references to the Kashmir issue will be expunged from the parliamentary records. 

This is not the first time India has tried to overpower its weaker neighbors. They have tried it in the past with Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Pakistan’s stance was not appreciated by the Maldives, as per the media reports. Maldivian authorities repeatedly told the Pakistani delegation to stick to the agenda and not to raise any political issues.

The United Nations and Organization of Islamic Countries have repeatedly categorized Kashmir as a disputed territory between India and Pakistan, hence, rejecting it to be India’s “Internal Issue”.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated during a public address to the nation that the Pakistan Government will raise the Kashmir issue at every available International Forum. The Cabinet under the leadership of PM Khan will hold a meeting in Islamabad today on the matter. 

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