Pakistan boycotts Indian minister’s speech at Turkey conference

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ANKARA:     Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotted on Monday Indian Minister VK Singh’s speech at the Heart of Asia conference in Turkey.
As soon as the Indian minister began his speech, Qureshi rose from his seat and walked out of the hall. The boycott was in protest against the brutalities and the grave violation of human rights exercised by the India government in Kashmir, according to Qureshi.
In September, Qureshi boycotted the speech of Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at a SAARC ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Kashmir has been under Indian siege since August 5 after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked special status for the region and imposed a curfew in the valley.
Pakistan condemned this and has spoked against the harsh step at many international forums. The country has also downgraded all diplomatic and trade ties with India in protest.
The 8th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process seeks to promote peace in Afghanistan under the theme of ‘Peace, Partnership, Prosperity’. It was convened at the Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
A secure and stable Afghanistan is crucial for the economic progress and prosperity of the region, Qureshi said in his speech at the conference.
“There was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The only solution, in our view, lay in a negotiated political settlement,” he remarked.
Qureshi declared deepening of relations with Afghanistan “highest priority”. “Our endeavor is to enhance trade and economic ties, facilitate people-to-people contacts, and increase regional connectivity.”