Pakistan has declined to participate in the Summit for Democracy, which is being held virtually on 9-10 December and is being hosted by US President Joe Biden.
The country pulled out of the summit on Thursday, in a moment that was abruptly announced by the foreign ministry, without giving a reason.
"We are thankful to the United States for inviting Pakistan for participation in the Summit for Democracy. We remain in contact with the US on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future", said the Foreign Office, while diplomatically declining the invite, reports The News.
Washington, however, was told that Islamabad valued its partnership with the US which it wished to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation.
The invitation comes at a time when after nearly a year in office, Joe Biden has not made any direct contact with Prime Minister Imran Khan, while he has called or met with many world leaders .
US President Biden has invited 110 leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad, said the US State Department.
While Russian and China have not been invited, Joe Biden took an extra step to invite Taiwan which has infuriated Beijing. Both Russia and China have rejected the Summit for Democracy, saying it creates new dividing lines in the international community which contradicts the development of the modern world and asked the United States not to worry about democracy.
Opinion was divided in Islamabad about whether Pakistan should participate or not. While there were strong voices that wanted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to participate, other cautioned that since a close ally China had not been invited and Taiwan would be present, it would be prudent for Pakistan to step away.
The Guardian reported citing Pakistani foreign ministry sources that it is not taking part in it, as China was not invited.