NEW DELHI: Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has said on Tuesday it was for the Centre to decide whether Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would attend the SAARC Finance Ministers’ conference or not.
As per government sources, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das would represent India at the two-day event to be hosted in Pakistan’s Islamabad from August 25-26.
“The Central Government has to decide whether Finance Minister would go and attend the conference or not, I cannot give my opinion as it is the government, who decides,” said, senior Congress leader Azad on Tuesday evening.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the Centre would decide about it, however, adding that Pakistan is a country that promotes terrorism. “India has a very important role in the formation of SAARC, and we give importance to SAARC and the Government will take right decision at the right time,” Hussain added.
As per reports, Jaitley will not be attending the SAARC Finance Ministers’ conference in Pakistan.
Pakistani media reports claimed that the country has decided to give a ‘warm welcome’ to Jaitley amid speculation that he was likely to visit Islamabad for the conference. The conference is taking place weeks after the SAARC Home Ministers’ conference, where Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had taken part.
Rajnath called for tough action against terrorism and countries supporting it, adding that terrorists should not be glorified as ‘martyrs’.
Pakistan blocked news media organisations from covering Rajnath’s speech, which received bipartisan condemnation in Parliament. “I did not see whether my speech was covered live or not. The media personnel from DD, ANI and PTI, who had come from India were not allowed to enter,” Singh had said in Parliament.