India rules out further postponement
Pakistan to attend SAARC summit despite quake
Pakistan is committed to keep the SAARC process moving and is looking forward to attend the 13th Summit in Dhaka scheduled for November 12 and November 13 despite difficult situation in the wake of widespread devastation due to recent earthquake.
Referring to a press release issued by Pakistan Saturday, a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official in the city said the Government of Pakistan has announced the postponement of the Fifth SAARC Commerce Ministers Meeting and meetings preceding including the eleventh Committee of Experts (COE) meeting on SAFTA scheduled between October 18 and October 22, reports BSS.
The meetings were postponed following the destruction caused by the severe earthquake in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, the Foreign Ministry official said.
He said fresh dates for the meetings would be announced in consultations with the member countries and the SAARC Secretariat.
Meanwhile, BDNEWS from New Delhi adds: Indian External Affairs Ministry has ruled out further postponement of the SAARC Summit.
Uncertainty and apprehension of further postponement looms large in the wake of devastating earthquake in Pakistan and India that left around 40,000 people dead.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan, however, has strongly said the SAARC would take place on schedule.
"We are ready. Our work is on. But, the whole thing now depends on Pakistan," a top official of the Indian External Affairs Ministry told the news agency, wishing not to be named.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry sources said energy cooperation and joint efforts to curb terrorism will get top priority during talks between Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the leaders meet on the sideline of the SAARC Summit.
There is a dilemma whether the issue of tri-nation pipeline project would be discussed specifically between them or not. Although the Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry is interested to raise the issue, the priority list of the External Affairs Ministry excluded it.
However, sources in New Delhi said an advance team of security officials has already started working in Dhaka to ensure security of the Indian Prime Minister.
India is giving high importance to the security aspect of its Prime Minister in the wake of the August 17 nationwide simultaneous bombings in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, many western journalists based in New Delhi are showing interest to cover the SAARC Summit apart from the Indian journo. Around hundred journalists already applied for accreditation and visa from the Bangladesh Mission here to cover the SAARC Summit, which was postponed twice earlier.
However, the Bangladesh Mission here is cautiously monitoring issuance of visa and registration. Apprehension is there that the issue of nationwide bombings and militant activities would be more attractive topic to cover for the western journalists than the Summit.