No Ind-Pak bilateral talks in the sidelines of SAARC meet

RSTV Bureau
Islamabad: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after his arrival in Islamabad to attend a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. Photo - PTI

Islamabad: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after his arrival in Islamabad to attend a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will not have any bilateral meeting with his Pakistan counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said on Thursday. Rajnath is on a two-day visit to Islamabad to attend the SAARC Home/Interior ministers’ conference.

The Union Home minister, who arrived in Islamabad Wednesday evening, is expected to raise the issue of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, designated as global terrorist, and cross border terrorism.

“There will be no bilateral meeting. We have already said that,” Mehrishi told reporters when asked if any bilateral meeting between Singh and Khan would take place.

According to official sources, the Home Minister along with his counterparts from the SAARC countries will call on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later in the day, as per tradition

The decision of Singh joining the Interior/Home Ministers in the courtesy call of Sharif was taken after several rounds of consultations among top officials of Ministries of Home, External Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office last night.

Before leaving for Islamabad to attend the day-long conference, Singh had said he was “this conference provides a platform to discuss issues pertaining to security.”

File Photo of most wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani (R), who was killed during an encounter at Kokarnag area of Anantnag District of South Kashmir on Friday.

File Photo of most wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani (R), who was killed during an encounter at Kokarnag area of Anantnag District of South Kashmir on Friday.

Singh is also expected to tell Pakistan to stop sponsoring terror in India and rein in groups like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Singh’s visit has come in the wake of strained Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.

Not only did Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.

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 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.