Pakistan said on Thursday that it is reviewing India’s Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference invitation to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto.
In a press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch confirmed that Pakistan had received the invitation for the meeting, which will be held on May 4 and 5.
She said the invitation is being reviewed and a decision regarding Pakistan’s participation will be taken after deliberation.
US says dialogue between India, Pakistan ’a matter for those two countries’
Earlier, Indian media outlets reported that as the president of SCO, India has extended invitations to all member states, including Pakistan and China, for the upcoming foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa in May. The Chief Justice of Pakistan is also invited to the regional forum meeting.
The SCO includes Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Central Asian States and this year will be hosted by India.
Regardless of Pakistan accepting India’s invitation, it is also not clear if Bilawal will be physically attending the meeting in India or will participuate virtually.
India invites Bilawal, CJP to SCO meet
Meanwhile, during the Senate session today, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that ever since the government came to power last year, “there has been no backchannel diplomacy going on between Pakistan and India untold to the rest of the world”.
“At this moment, there is no such thing under way,” she said.
The minister said that Pakistan had always taken initiatives to promote peace but added that “right now, the cross-border hostility from India is of a unique type.”
Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold serious and sincere talks to resolve burning issues.
In an interview, Shehbaz said India and Pakistan were neighbours and they had to live with each other.
“It is up to us to live peacefully and make progress or quarrel with each other, and waste time and resources. We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people,” he said.
“We have learnt our lesson and we want to live in peace provided we are able to resolve our genuine problems,” he added.
Back in September 2022, PM Shehbaz had attended the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting in Uzbekistan, where he urged the organisation to “build a wall” against climate change.
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