India had invited Pakistan Commerce Minister Pervez Malik to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meeting on March 19 and 20 and Islamabad had accepted the invitation last month.
The decision to withdraw from the WTO meeting comes on the heels of the calling back of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood for consultations.
India has invited trade ministers of over 50 nations, including the US and China, to discuss key issues related areas such as agriculture and services.
Local media here quoted sources in the Pakistan foreign ministry as saying that the situation had changed after repeated harassment of families of diplomats.
The invitation to the meeting was seen as part of the back-channel negotiations between the National Security Advisers of the two countries, Ajit Doval and Nasser Janjua.
The Nation newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying, “We cannot send our commerce minister to India when they are harassing our diplomats.”
“India has been conveyed that we will play for our own interests. They (India) have been asked to change their policy before expecting us (Pakistan) to attend summits in New Delhi.”