Rajnath Singh reaches Pakistan to attend SAARC meet; protests by terror groups erupt

Amid bilateral tensions over violence in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan to attend the seventh meeting of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad.

After arriving in Islamabad, Singh met Amir Ahmed, the additional secretary of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin took to the streets of Islamabad to lodge protest against Singh’s visit. Holding Singh responsible for the killings of his area commander Burhan Wani and Kashmiri protesters, the chief of United Jihad Council slammed the Pakistan government for welcoming the Indian Home Minister.

A group of All Parties Hurriyat Conference workers also held a protest in Rawalpindi against Singh`s arrival. The protesters shouted anti-India slogans in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi, around 20 km from Islamabad where the two-day SAARC conference is being held.

Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed led a rally in Lahore’s Mall Road and vent out his anger over the government’s decision to ‘welcome’ Singh despite his alleged “role in the killings of innocent Kashmiris”. Saeed said the Pakistan government has added insult to the wounds of Kashmiris by welcoming Singh.

“We were not expecting that the Pakistani rulers would welcome Singh who is responsible for the killings of innocent Kashmiris,” he said, adding the rulers should have refused to receive the Indian home minister to lodge its protest over Kashmir atrocities.

However, the Home Minister, in his speech at the SAARC meeting, is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan’s support to Ibrahim and to terror groups operating in India and ask Islamabad to check Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and other groups based in that country.

Singh is also likely to raise the issue of fake Indian currency notes being circulated at the behest of Pakistani agencies, sources said.

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.

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