Amid fears of looming global isolation, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz has confirmed that Pakistan would be attending the upcoming Heart of Asia conference scheduled to be held in Amritsar from December 3-4.“Pakistan will continue to attend all international forums,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News channel.
The move by Islamabad appears to counter India’s diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan on the international stage over the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.Foreign ministers from 14-member countries, including Russia, China and Turkey, are expected to attend the day-long conference meant to discuss the current Afghan situation and possible initiatives the immediate and extended neighbours of Afghanistan could undertake to restore long-term peace.
It is still not clear who’ll attend the meet on behalf of Pakistan. The last two Heart of Asia meets were attended by the foreign ministers and foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan and they also held talks on the sidelines.
The announcement came amid growing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the attack on an Indian army base in Uri. Last month, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November later this year, was officially postponed. The summit was called off after India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan withdrew their participation following the Uri attack. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey. Its main objective is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan, and the region.