Raising stakes in the controversy surrounding the presence of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Minister Chaudhury Muhammad Saeed at a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Islamabad, India has asked the SAARC Secretariat to de-recognise the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) for inviting him in contravention of the SAARC charter, reported The Hindu.
India’s representative at the meet had staged a walk-out over Saeed’s attendance. The SCCI had subsequently apologised, ‘expressing regret’ in a communication to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
The Ministry of External Affairs wrote to the SAARC Secretariat on 10 December, terming Saeed a ‘renegade entity’ from the part of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan’s ‘illegal and forcible occupation’. The letter contends that SCCI must be de-recognised as it had taken a political stance in violation of the SAARC principles of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member nations.
“The government of India requests the SAARC Secretariat to consider initiating steps for de-recognition of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the Apex body of the SAARC”, the letter further reads.
The SCCI was founded in 1992 and is constituted of chambers of commerce from all nine member states of SAARC. It meets regularly to discuss business ties and economic cooperation between SAARC countries.
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