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Sunday January 29, 2023

SCO meeting: Islamabad receives Delhi’s invitation to Bilawal

India Wednesday invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) it is hosting in May, signalling a possible thaw in ties with Pakistan

January 26, 2023
Bilawal photographed on December 16, 2022 addressing a press conference in New York. Twitter
Bilawal photographed on December 16, 2022 addressing a press conference in New York. Twitter

MUMBAI/ISLAMABAD: India Wednesday invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) it is hosting in May, signalling a possible thaw in ties with Pakistan.

The invitation came days after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for talks with India on all outstanding issues, including the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), international media reports.

The SCO comprises China, India, Russia, Pakistan and four Central Asian states.

According to a media report, the invitation was delivered by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. If Pakistan accepts it, Bilawal would be its first foreign minister to visit India after a gap of nearly 12 years. Sources in the Foreign Office of Pakistan and the Indian High Commission confirmed to Daily Jang that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had received an invitation from New Delhi for participation in the SCO meeting. They said the invitation, sent on behalf of the Indian Foreign Minister J. Shankar, had been handed over to the higher authorities of the Foreign Office of Pakistan. However, the sources were tight-lipped about the participation of Bilawal Bhutto in the meeting.

Sources close to the foreign minister said the decision on participation in the SCO meeting would be made after consultation with the “stakeholders”.

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