Rajnath Singh, Other SAARC Ministers To Meet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif, No Bilaterals

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is in Islamabad for a SAARC summit, will meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with leaders from other countries, but there will be no bilateral meetings.

“There will be no bilateral meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan,” Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said.

Nawaz Sharif issued more provocative comments on Kashmir as Mr Singh landed in Pakistan on Wednesday and rode a chopper to his hotel in the city amid protests.

“Kashmir is witnessing a new wave of freedom movement,” the Pakistan Prime Minister said at a conference and asked diplomats to “tell the world that it is not an internal matter of India.”

It was the latest in a series of aggravating comments made by Mr Sharif and his government on Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8, which led to protests and violent clashes in the valley between protesters and security forces, in which almost 50 people have been killed.

Ahead of Mr Singh’s visit, terrorist leaders Syed Salahuddin of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar e Taiba had threatened big protests against what they described as “atrocities in Kashmir” and the killing of Burhan Wani who they call a martyr.

As the home minister arrived in Islamabad, a large group of protesters gathered just a few kilometres from the Serena hotel where he is staying during his two-day visit.

Officials said the demonstration had nothing to do with protests over the weekend in which Salahuddin warned the Pakistan government against welcoming Mr Singh.

Mr Singh’s helicopter ride within the city was part of Islamabad’s plan for “presidential-level” security after New Delhi, responding to the protest threats, said the home minister’s security is the “host country’s responsibility”.

India has accused Pakistan of an “unabashed embrace of terrorism” and warned that its stated goal of detaching Kashmir from India will “not be realised to the end of eternity.”

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