India’s decision to host a meeting of the G20 tourism working group in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in violation of international laws is drawing backlash, with several member countries opting to skip the summit to register their protest.
Last week, China opened the floodgates by saying it would not attend the G20 meeting, as it did not support the conduct of any conferences in disputed territories. “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. We will not attend such meetings,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told media.
Over the weekend, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt also announced that they would not attend the meeting—scheduled for today (May 22) and skipped its registration. According to Indian media, the decision to skip the summit by all these countries is being seen against the backdrop of them being more inclined toward Pakistan, which had earlier voiced its strong condemnation of Delhi attempting to “normalize” the situation in IIOJK by hosting an international summit there.
Ahead of the meeting, all political parties and freedom fighter groups in the disputed territory said they would observe a complete strike in IIOJK to register their protest. In a joint press release, they said that Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control would observe a shutdown on May 22 and organize protests and rallies in all major capitals of the world to make it clear that they did not support the G20 meeting occurring in a disputed region.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari reached Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday to commence a three-day visit of the region as counter to the G20 summit. Speaking with journalists after reaching Muzaffarabad, he said Delhi would not be able to suppress the voice of Kashmiris by holding an international meeting in Srinagar. “It is not possible for India to play an important role in the world by violating U.N. resolutions,” he said, adding he would join the Kashmiris in their protest against the G20 meeting.
“I believe that when a country takes a step like that India has taken, their real face comes forth in front of the world,” he said. According to the Foreign Office, the foreign minister—who also heads the Pakistan Peoples Party—would address the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and also attend a luncheon hosted by AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq. He is then slated to address a press conference before flying to Bagh to address a public meeting on Tuesday.