Addressing a joint news conference with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in Male, Sharif claimed that India has been deliberately demolishing regional forums and SAARC has been the first victim of Indian conspiracy.
Prime Minister Sharif was invited to Male to address 52nd independence day celebration as the Chief Guest. He said “India caused harm to the Saarc by seeking postponement” of the grouping’s summit in Islamabad last year. This was not the first time that India harmed the forum as it “had done so on four occasions”, Sharif was quoted as saying by Pakistan’s state-run APP news agency.
The proposed 19th SAARC Summit had been postponed after India denied attending the summit blaming Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism again India. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan had also decided to skip the meeting over concerns related to cross-border terrorism and interference in their internal affairs by Pakistan. The move followed a string of deadly attacks on Indian military facilities that were blamed on Pakistan-based terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed.
India “undermined and violated the spirit of the Saarc charter by casting shadows of bilateral issues and problems on a multilateral forum for regional cooperation”, Prime Minister further said.
“We, however, remain grateful for President Abdulla Yameen’s support regarding the Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” he said. Sharif and Gayoom agreed to work together to make Saarc a “vibrant organisation”.