Pakistan skips moot of top judges of SCO countries in India

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ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial skipped a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that has been taking place in New Delhi from March 10 till March 12 due to “unavoidable commitments”.

The SCO is a key regional forum comprising Pakistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and India. It focuses primarily on the areas of trade, finance, commerce and socio-economic cooperation among the SCO member states. Currently, Indian holds the presidency of the forum and it will organise a series of events this year.

In January, amid the heightened hostilities between Islamabad and New Delhi, the Indian government had invited Pakistan’s top judge to attend meetings of the chief justices of the SCO countries.

“Due to his unavoidable commitments on the scheduled meeting dates, the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan will not be able to participate in the SCO meeting of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts scheduled from 10-12 March, 2023,” reports quoted Pakistan’s reply to the India.India has also invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to the SCO foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held in Goa in May.Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch in her weekly press briefing said Pakistan was yet to decide whether the foreign minister will attend the meeting.

“Regarding participation in the upcoming SCO Council of Foreign Ministers, as I have said earlier, the matter is under consideration and as and when this decision is taken, we will share it with everyone,” Baloch said in reply to question at a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

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