Rajnath to attend Saarc meet in Pakistan despite terrorist threat

01 August 2016

Home minister Rajnath Singh's plan to attend this week's Saarc summit in Islamabad remains unchanged despite threat by the chief of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin to stop Singh's visit.

The Indian government on Monday said there is no change in the home minister's scheduled visit to Pakistan to attend the Saarc summit as it is for the Pakistani government to ensure Singh's safety.

"The home minister is going to Pakistan for multilateral meeting. Terrorism will figure in talks... If any security issue arises, it's Pakistan's responsibility to deal with it," minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said.

Salahuddin made the threat at a rally in Lahore on Sunday and warned Pakistan government against welcoming Singh who "deployed soldiers in Kashmir to shed the blood of innocents.''

Islamabad has not reacted to the threat so far nor has it commented on Rajnath Singh's visit.

Earlier, Pakistani Prime minister had also made provocative comments on Kashmir after the death of terrorist Burhan Wani in a shoot-out with security personnel.

Praising Wani, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had said, "Kashmir will one day become Pakistan."

The home minister's visit comes amid tension between the two countries over Pakistan's provocative comments on Kashmir and the unrest in the aftermath of terrorist Burhan Wani's killing on 8 July.

New Delhi has made it clear that there will be no bilateral meeting between Singh and Pakistani leaders during the Saarc ministerial conference on Thursday.

Burhan Wani, 22, was a most-wanted terrorist commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Home ministry sources say Singh is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan sponsoring acts of terror in India. He is also likely to take up the slow pace of investigations into the Pathankot airbase terror attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Hafiz Saeed, the head of  Jamaat-ud-Dawah(JuD), another terror group, has warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan if the home minister arrives in Islamabad to attend the Saarc ministerial conference.

"I want to ask the Pakistani government will it add insult to injury to the wounds of Kashmiris by welcoming Rajnath who is responsible for the killings of innocent Kashmiris," he said in a statement here.

"It will 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," said the statement issued on Monday.

The mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack said "if Singh comes to Islamabad on August 3, the JuD would hold countrywide protest to tell the world that the Pakistani rulers might have compulsions to receive Kashmiris' killers but the people of Pakistan are siding with oppressed Kashmiris".

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