On Friday morning, a united Opposition in the Upper House lauded the tough stand taken by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Pakistan. The Home Minister was in Pakistan to attend SAARC Home Minster’s conference.
Apart from Congress the main Opposition party, parties like Trinamool Congress, BSP Samajwadi Party, JD(U), AIADMK, DMK, NCP, BJD and even the Left Front’s CPI spoke in one voice to congratulate the Home Minister for his speech at the SAARC meet.
The members, cutting across party lines supported the Home Minister’s stand after he briefed the House about how he condemned terrorism and terrorist-sympathisers among other issues, in Pakistan.
“We appreciate the issues raised by Rajnath Singh at the meeting in Pakistan. The issues of terrorism, smuggling, narcotic drugs, cyber crime and human trafficking are extremely important as they all have an impact on our country,” said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“…Your (Home Minister Rajnath Singh) participation was correct because India is an important member of SAARC and therefore the message that India has conveyed has relevance,” Deputy leader of the Congress in the House, Anand Sharma.
TMC too, like most other parties gave a thumbs up to India’s tough stand.
“For the last 18 years, TMC has always been firmly behind the government on international issues. It is no different today…we are completely on board and welcome the statement,” TMC leader Derek o’ Brien.
“I appreciate the statement given by the Home Minister. I also join the entire House to appreciate the five suggestions made by our Home Minister in the SAARC meeting,” said CPI leader D Raja.
However, the members also raised concern and condemned the manner in which protocol norms were not observed in Islamabad during Rajnath Singh’s visit. Members sought clarification from the Home Minister if his speech was deliberately blocked out, as some media reports had reported.
In his suo motu statement to the House, Rajnath Singh briefed the House of his dealings at the SAARC meet, saying that he urged the members nations not to glorify terrorism or give patronage to it.
“I called for hardening our resolve to eradicate this menace of terrorism. I also stressed on the need to ensure that terrorism is not glorified and patronised by any state,” Singh said while reading out the statement.
“A terrorist in one nation cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone…They should not make the mistake of distinguishing between good terrorism and bad terrorism…It is necessary to take all effective steps against states or non-state actors encouraging or supporting terrorism,” Singh said.
The Home Minister also said that he had suggested to the SAARC Ministers that sanctions and bans imposed against terrorists by the global community have to be honoured.
However, Singh said it is still not clear if his speech at the meeting was deliberately blocked or it was the norm to not broadcast it. But he did say with certainty that the Indian media was not allowed to enter the hall where his speech was made.