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    Islamabad Saarc Summit likely to be called off

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    The 19th Saarc Summit to be hosted by Pakistan in November is likely to be postponed with India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan – four of the eight members of the South Asian grouping – deciding to pull out, citing incitement of terrorism in the region.

    According to the sources current Chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, confirmed having received messages from the four countries conveying their inability to attend the summit due in Islamabad on November 9-10 and the sources said that the Himalayan nation is yet to take a decision on calling off the summit.

    However, a final decision rests on the current Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who is currently in New York and will return in two days. With half of the eight-nation regional bloc deciding to skip the event, there is every possibility of the event being postponed, in a big diplomatic snub to Pakistan.

    Sri Lanka has already said that the Saarc Summit would not be possible without India’s participation.

    India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member-states “by one country” have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.

    In a similar message to Nepal, Bangladesh said: “The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November 2016.”

    Bhutan, in its message, cited “the recent escalation of terrorism in the region” as the reason for its non-participation.

    So, With the Saarc process based on consensus, even if one member does not attend the summit is automatically postponed or cancelled.

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