Pakistan has extended India a virtual invitation to attend the summit for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) virtually if Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi does not want to attend the summit in Islamabad. It was revealed by Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a news conference on Monday.

He said, “Pakistan considers SAARC as an important forum. We are willing to host the 19th SAARC summit and if India has any issue in attending the summit in person then it can attend virtually.”

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The Secretary-General of SAARC recently visited Islamabad and Pakistan has shown eagerness to host the summit.

FM Qureshi further added, “If India cannot attend the summit in Islamabad at least it should not stop other members,” while giving an invitation to other SAARC members for the next summit.

While talking about bilateral relations with India, Qureshi said that durable peace, sustainability and economic development in the region have been halted by the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) whose political ideology is based on anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim sentiments.

He added, “India’s unilateral and illegal actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) since August 5, 2019, aimed at undermining the status of the disputed territory, perpetuating its illegal occupation and altering its demographic structure, and the unabated widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and state-terrorism perpetrated against the innocent Kashmiris have further vitiated the environment and threatened international peace and security.”

He further expressed that Pakistan wants friendly relations with every neighbouring country, however, it depends on India to take necessary steps towards dialogue and resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The Foreign Minister also highlighted the worsening situation of Kashmiri leaders and the persecution of the locals.

In November 2016, India refused to attend the SAARC summit which was scheduled in Islamabad due to the high tensions between both countries.