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'Have invited all members to SCO Film Festival, attending or not upto them': Anurag Thakur
Mumbai: Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, on Friday said all member countries were formally invited to the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Film Festival in Mumbai and attending the event was entirely upto them.
The minister was replying to a media query on whether Pakistan, as a member country of the SCO, had also been invited to the event. While 57 films from different SCO member states are to be screened at the film festiuval, there is none from Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Thakur said, "All member countries were invited to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Film Festival and it was entirely upto them to decide if they want to attend the event. We extended invitations to all SCO members."
The Union minister added, "Since this is a multinational festival, one expects all member countries to attend it."
Listing the member countries invited to the ongoing film fest, Thakur said, "We sent invitations to China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The event also features three observer states -- Belarus, Iran and Mongolia."
India currently holds the chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of State for 2022-23. It also holds the presidency of the SCO Film Festival.
According to a PIB release, the event also features Dialogue Partners in the form of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar, UAE and Turkey.
Pakistan on Thursday said that it had yet to decide on accepting India's invite to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to a meeting of the SCO in Goa from May.
"Pakistan and India are members of SCO. India is holding the chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of State for 2022-2023. These invitations are being processed as per standard procedures and a decision will be taken in due course," said the spokesperson for Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Bhutto has been invited to the SCO foreign ministers' meeting to be hosted by Goa on May 4-5, this year. (ANI)