SAARC meet: Rajnath arrives in Pak

Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh on Wednesday arrived here to attend the SAARC Interior Ministers' conference tomorrow during which he is expected to raise the issue of Dawood Ibrahim and “cross border terrorism.
SAARC meet: Rajnath arrives in Pak

Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh on Wednesday arrived here to attend the SAARC Interior Ministers' conference tomorrow during which he is expected to raise the issue of Dawood Ibrahim and "cross border terrorism."

Accompanied by a delegation comprising officials from his ministry and external affairs, Singh, who is on his maiden visit to Pakistan, will be underlining meaningful cooperation among the South Asian countries.

Before leaving for Islamabad to attend the day-long SAARC Home Ministers Conference, the Home Minister said he was "looking forward to underscore the imperative of meaningful cooperation within the region against terrorism and organised crime."

"This Conference provides a platform to discuss issues pertaining to security," said Singh.

Tomorrow's meeting is preceded by the 7th Meeting of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries which is being held today. The Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who is leading the Indian delegation, arrived here yesterday.

There is little possibility of Singh having a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the wake of strain in Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.

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.

The three-tier meeting began at the joint secretary-level and then moves on to Secretary and Home Minister-level meetings.

The focus of the meeting will also be on strengthening networking among police forces of SAARC member-countries and also enhance information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.

'INDIA SHOWING ATTACHMENT TO TERROR'

Amid continued tension in Kashmir, India on Wednesday said Pakistan's recent comments glorifying Hizbul 'commander' Burhan Wani reflected its "continued attachment to terrorism and its usages as an instrument of state policy."

Replying to questions relating to Indo-Pak ties in Lok Sabha, MoS External Affairs V K Singh said Pakistan putting an end to "anti-India terrorism" emanating from its soil would allow it to move forward in ties with India.

Government has taken a number of initiatives for building a normal relationship with Pakistan and for addressing all outstanding issues, he said, adding progress in probe into Pathankot attack to bring the perpetrators to justice will contribute to a conducive climate.

The Minister said India has strongly rejected all attempts by Pakistan to interfere in its internal matters.

"Government has stated that Pakistan's recent official statements of glorification and support to the terrorist, who was a 'commander' in the banned militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen and carried an amount of Rs 10 lakh on his head on account of heinous crimes, including murder of elected representatives of local bodies and security forces/personnel, reflect Pakistan's continued attachment to terrorism and its usages as an instrument of state policy," Singh said.

On Pathankot attack probe by Pakistan, he said Government was aware of the statements by Islamabad in February that based on initial investigation and the information provided by India, several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad were apprehended and offices of the organization were traced and sealed.

He said Pakistan Foreign Secretary, during his visit here in April, was conveyed that it was time for reviewing progress in investigation in the Pathankot attack after visit of Pakistan's JIT which had gathered "all evidence" that it had wanted and that an Indian delegation could visit Pakistan for this purpose.

"Government remains engaged with Government of Pakistan in this regard," said the Minister. 

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