SAARC

Rajnath Singh strongly pressed for action against nations promoting terrorism

August 04, 2016 11:46 PM
Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Islamabad/New Delhi:  Home minister Rajnath Singh used a meeting in Pakistan on Thursday to seek the “strongest” action against countries that back terrorism and pilloried those who eulogise terrorists, delivering a terse message that was not covered by the Pakistani media.

Singh did not name any countries or individuals in his speech at the meeting of Saarc interior ministers but there was little doubt he was referring to Pakistan.

A senior government official said media report that the Home Minister’s speech was “blacked out” by Pakistan was misleading. “It is the standard SAARC practice that the opening statement by the host country is public and open to the media, while the rest of the proceedings are in-camera, which allows for a full and frank discussion of issues,” said the official.


In an apparent reminder of the patronage enjoyed by the 1993 Mumbai blast accused Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan, Mr. Singh said the implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol becomes crucial as it would ensure “that those committing terrorist acts do not escape prosecution and punishment and are extradited or prosecuted.”

“It also needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronised by any State. One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity… when I say that under no circumstance should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs. Strongest possible steps need to be taken not only against terrorists and terrorist organisations, but also individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them.”

The current strain in Indo-Pakistan relations was evident when Mr. Singh came face-to-face with his Pakistani counterpart for the first time on Thursday.

The two leaders barely made contact, not to mention a formal handshake, before Mr. Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall. Members of the Indian media, which came from New Delhi to report the conference, were not allowed to capture the moment or cover the conference. They were kept at a distance by Pakistani officials, leading to an angry exchange between a senior Indian official and a Pakistani official, PTI reported.

“The menace of terrorism is greatly amplified by the misuse of digital technology. In our effort to tackle terrorism, we should look into all avenues of cyber-crime, its linkages with the terrorist world, and how these could be dealt with,” Mr. Singh said.

A senior government official said media report that the Home Minister’s speech was “blacked out” by Pakistan was misleading. “It is the standard SAARC practice that the opening statement by the host country is public and open to the media, while the rest of the proceedings are in-camera, which allows for a full and frank discussion of issues,” said the official.

The website of the Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper quoted the Pakistani Interior Minister as saying that just as India suffered in the attacks in Pathankot, Kabul, Mumbai and Dhaka, Pakistan too has lost many innocent lives to terrorism. Blame game has not benefited anyone in the past six decades.”

Referring to the Kashmir unrest, Mr. Khan said, “torture against innocent children and violence against civilians qualify as terrorism… there is a need to end an extremist mindset and instead try to solve regional issues through dialogue.”

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