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Pak’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotts S Jaishankar’s opening statement at SAARC meeting, brings up Kashmir issue

 

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday boycotted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s opening statement at an informal meeting of SAARC on the sidelines of the UNGA saying he “will not engage with India until and unless they lift the siege and put an end to atrocities in Kashmir”.

“They must safeguard human rights of Kashmiris, ensure they are protected and not violated or trampled upon,” a tweet from the ruling PTI’s handle said about the boycott, and added, the minister “refuses to attend Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s statement at the meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers”.

Qureshi showed up just minutes after Jaishankar left after his opening statement as he had been expected, according to Indian officials, without responding to questions from reporters waiting for him.

The Pakistani foreign minister has been known for pulling off stunts at SAARC. In 2018, he had come out accusing the then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj of boycotting his speech, when she had actually left after finishing her own speech and had another meeting to attend, as had the Bangladeshi and Afghanistan foreign ministers.