Islamabad/New Delhi: A day after India invited Imran Khan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in New Delhi later this year, the Pakistan’s Prime Minister admitted in an interview to German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the global community’s response to the Kashmir issue has been tepid.
“Unfortunately, commercial interests are more important for Western countries. India is a big market and that is the reason behind the lukewarm response to what is happening to some 8 million people in Kashmir, as well as to minorities in India,” he was quoted as saying.
Khan said India snubbed his repeated overtures for settling the ongoing disputes between the nuclear-armed rivals. He gave the reference of his first speech wherein Khan said he is willing to take two steps forward for the step that India takes towards normalizing relations.
“Sadly, yes. Consider the sort of media attention the Hong Kong protests are getting. The tragedy of Kashmir is much greater,” Khan told DW’s Ines Pohl.
The government in New Delhi said that as a host, India will invite all the eight members and four observer states of the SCO for the meeting.
“India will be hosting the heads of government summit later this year. As per established practice and procedure, all eight members and four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited,” said External Affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
According to sources, Khan is likely to send a member of his government in his place to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in New Delhi.
The SCO is an economic and security bloc with China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan as members. The organization headed by China was founded in 2001. India and Pakistan were given membership three years ago.
Top sources in Islamabad, however, said that Khan is likely to send a junior minister in his place. “Given the deterioration in India-Pakistan relationship since the airstrikes at Balakot terror camp in Pakistan, Prime Minister Khan will find it very hard to justify his visit to India. He will skip the SCO meeting. Most likely, he will send his foreign minister,” a top source was quoted as saying.