Rajnath Singh to arrive in Islamabad for Saarc summit today1 min read . Updated: 03 Aug 2016, 02:13 AM IST
Rajnath Singh's visit comes amid fresh tensions between India and Pakistan, following the latter's provocative statements on Kashmir
New Delhi: Union minister for home affairs Rajnath Singh reaches Islamabad on Wednesday to participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) home ministers’ conference. The visit comes amid fresh tensions between India and Pakistan, following the latter’s provocative statements on Kashmir in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.
It also comes in the face of a call for nationwide protests by the Pakistan-based terror group Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed. India, however, views the minister’s attendance as a sign of its commitment to SAARC, so that the grouping is not held hostage to India-Pakistan tensions.
“The SAARC meeting is a multilateral meeting. There are some commitments. He is not going to give some message or having a separate meeting with (the) Pakistani home minister," Singh’s deputy and minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters.
According to a PTI report, Singh will be accompanied by Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the home ministry.
India’s relationship with Pakistan has worsened over the last few weeks, with Pakistan announcing a Black Day last month to protest against alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces in Kashmir. India says Pakistan has no right to interfere in its internal matters.
Additionally, Saeed who India maintains is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, urged the Pakistani establishment to withdraw its invitation to Singh, saying it would be “ironical as on the one hand the whole Pakistani nation is protesting against the Indian atrocities in Kashmir and on the other hand the Pakistani rulers will be garlanding Singh".
Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin also supported Saeed’s statement, accusing the home minister of being a “killer of Kashmiris".
Responding to queries about Singh’s security in the light of these threats, Rijiju said the onus was on Pakistan to ensure Singh’s safety during the trip.
The Saarc home ministers’ meeting is seen as a preparatory meeting to a summit of South Asian leaders in Pakistan later in November, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.