Home Minister Rajnath Singh will not have any bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said on Thursday. Singh arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening to attend the 7th SAARC Home/Interior Ministers’ conference during which he is expected to raise the issue of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, designated as global terrorist, and cross border terrorism.
“There will be no bilateral meeting. We have already said that,” Mehrishi told reporters when asked if any bilateral meeting between Singh and Khan would take place. According to official sources, the Home Minister along with his counterparts from the SAARC countries will call on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later in the day, as per tradition.
The decision of Singh joining the Interior/Home Ministers in the courtesy call of Sharif was taken after several rounds of consultations among top officials of Ministries of Home, External Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office last night. Before leaving for Islamabad to attend the day-long conference, Singh had 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,” Singh had said, who is also expected to tell Pakistan to stop sponsoring terror in India and rein in groups like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. A very bleak possibility of Singh having a bilateral meeting with Khan was expected in the wake of strains in Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.
Not only did Prime Minister Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.