Published On: Wed, Sep 28th, 2016

Islamabad Saarc Summit likely to be called off

New Delhi, Sep 28: The 19th Saarc Summit to be hosted by Pakistan in November is likely to be postponed with India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan – four of the eight members of the South Asian grouping – deciding to pull out, citing incitement of terrorism in the region.

Sources in Nepal, the current Chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, confirmed having received messages from the four countries conveying their inability to attend the summit due in Islamabad on November 9-10.

The sources said that the Himalayan nation is yet to take a decision on calling off the summit, which is over a month away.

With the Saarc process based on consensus, even if one member does not attend the summit is automatically postponed or cancelled.

However, a final decision rests on the current Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who is currently in New York and will return in two days.

With half of the eight-nation regional bloc deciding to skip the event, there is every possibility of the event being postponed, in a big diplomatic snub to Pakistan.

Sri Lanka has already said that the Saarc Summit would not be possible without India’s participation.

India on Tuesday announced that it was pulling out of the Islamabad summit in the wake of the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir, which New Delhi has blamed on terrorists based in Pakistan.

The Uri attack came amid the dragging unrest and violence in Kashmir Valley that has left around 90 people dead since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8.