Islamabad: Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim has called off a visit to India later in February as a SAARC business meet he was scheduled to attend in New Delhi has been cancelled. "The Commerce Minister's visit to India had been approved by the Prime Minister and all arrangements had been completed for the trip.
"However, the SAARC Business Leaders Conclave, which he was scheduled to attend, has been cancelled," an aide to Fahim said. The aide made it clear that the decision was not linked in any way to recent tensions in bilateral relations. Fahim was scheduled to attend the SAARC meet which was to be held in New Delhi during February 21-24. He was invited to the meet by his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma.
Fahim was also expected to hold talks with Sharma on the sidelines of the regional meet. In January, Fahim had called off a scheduled visit to India to attend a Partnership Summit in Agra in the wake of growing tensions between the neighbours over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.
Fahim told reporters he had decided against travelling to India as the business meet would clash with a meeting between a government team and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who recently led a protest to push for electoral reforms. However, official sources said Fahim's decision was linked to the spike in tensions between India and Pakistan over a string of clashes along the LoC that left two Indian and three Pakistani soldiers dead.