Amid protests and provocation by Pakistan, Rajnath Singh to talk tough on cross-border terrorism during SAARC meet

There will be no bilateral meet between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Aug 04, 2016, 10:05 AM IST
Amid protests and provocation by Pakistan, Rajnath Singh to talk tough on cross-border terrorism during SAARC meet

Islamabad: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived here on Wednesday to attend the SAARC Interior Ministers' conference, will raise India's concern on cross-border terrorism in Pakistan on Thursday.

However, there will be no bilateral meeting between Rajanth Singh and his Pakistani counterpart.

There will be no bilateral meet between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi this morning.

Singh, who arrived here yesterday evening on his maiden visit to Pakistan, has been accorded tight security and was flown in a helicopter to the Serena hotel located in posh Islamabad locality.

It is also the venue of today's meeting where Singh will be underlining the need for meaningful cooperation among South Asian countries.

 

 

Despite tight security, around 100 people gathered outside the hotel shouting anti-India slogans and protested against Singh's visit.

Notably, LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin had warned of a nationwide protest if Singh arrives in Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference which would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Roads leading to the hotel have been heavily barricaded by the police and paramilitary forces to ward off any threat from terror groups. In the past, there have been instances when terrorists rammed explosive-laden trucks into the hotels.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif made provocative comments on Kashmir, calling the issue as the main pillar of Islamabad's foreign policy.

Sharif, addressing the concluding session of the three-day conference of Pakistani envoys in Islamabad, stated that "desire of freedom is running in the blood of Kashmiris".

During the SAARC Home Ministers' Conference, Singh is expected to tell Pakistan to stop sponsoring terror in India and rein in groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

India has been demanding handing over of Dawood, who has been designated as a global terrorist by the anti-terror body of the United Nations, for running an organised crime syndicate from Pakistan.

Even before Rajnath's arrival there wasa little possibility of Singh having a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the wake of strain in Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.

On the eve of the conference, Sharif said that Kashmir was witnessing a "new wave of the freedom movement" and asked Pakistani diplomats to apprise the world that Kashmir was "not an internal matter" of India.

Apart from terrorism, other key issues to be discussed include liberalisation of visa, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms and how to make coordinated and concerted efforts to combat such menace.

The three-tier meeting began at the joint secretary-level and then moves on to Secretary and Home Minister-level meetings.

The focus of the meeting will also be on strengthening networking among police forces of SAARC member-countries and also enhance information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.