Monday December 04, 2023

Shehbaz-Modi encounter likely in June

By Our Correspondent
January 25, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi could take place in June when nine important countries of the region, including China, Russia and Iran would be attending the 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be hosted by New Delhi.

Meanwhile, India has invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to attend the SCO meetings of foreign ministers and chief justices separately.

The officials concerned confirmed to The News here on Tuesday about receiving invitations. The decision regarding participation would be made in due course after consultations by the relevant authorities, the sources said. The SCO’s meeting of the foreign ministers will be held in the Indian coast city of Goa in May whereas, the SCO’s meeting of the chief justices will be held in the month of March this year.

Interestingly, Pakistan didn’t participate in a film festival under the auspices of SCO being held late this month in Mumbai. Both Pakistan and India were accepted as full members of the influential organisation a few years back when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister of Pakistan, after the two committed not to undermine the SCO work because of their bilateral disputes.

The sources indicated that State Minister Foreign Affairs Ms Hina Rabbani Khar could represent Pakistan in External Affairs Ministers conference if Bilawal was not available.

Likewise, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) could be designated for the chief justices meeting if Chief Justice of Pakistan decides to skip it. The sources in the Prime Minister’s House told this scribe that Islamabad has not received any invitation for the summit but Pakistan cannot understate the presence and importance of Chinese and Russian leadership on the occasion. The new Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, would be undertaking his maiden visit to India for attending the SCO summit.