Limited access to WHO conference

| November 7, 2016

Pakistan’s participation at the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, currently being staged in India, will, at best, be limited, according to a story by Sehrish Wasif for the Express Tribune, quoting officials In Islamabad.

Islamabad would not be sending a delegation to the event, they said, though they were unable to say whether Pakistan was boycotting the conference or Pakistan’s representatives had been denied visas by the Indian government.

In an earlier story, Reuters had quoted the Pakistan Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Co-ordination (NHSRC) Saira Afzal Tarar as saying: “It is a very important meeting on tobacco, but our visit does not appear feasible due to ongoing tensions”.

Health ministry officials, Tarar added, had been unable to secure visas to attend the conference.

But when The Express Tribune contacted the Director-General of the NHSRC Dr. Asad Hafeez, he said: “It is wrong to suggest that Pakistan will not participate in the … conference. Pakistan is very much participating in the conference.

“Some officials from the Pakistan High Commission in India are going to participate in the conference … on behalf of the federal ministry of health,” he said.

Dr Hafeez insisted that no member of the Pakistani delegation had applied for a visa so “there is no way the Indian High Commission can refuse to issue visas”.

About 1,500 delegates from about 180 countries are expected to participate in the conference, which is being staged at Greater Noida, a city close to New Delhi, on November 7-12.

Category: Breaking News

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