Bharatiya Janata party MP R K Singh on Friday condemned the manner in which the protocol norms were not observed by Islamabad at the seventh SAARC meeting of Home Ministers and said that their lack of courtesy was reprehensive.
“This is unprecedented, this has never happened before. Whenever there is a multilateral conference you don’t have media gags, in fact the entire behaviour of Pakistan is condemnable and reprehensible. You are hosting the Home Ministers and you must behave accordingly. I think their lack of courtesy was reprehensive,” Singh told ANI, in New Delhi.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier clarified in Parliament that he went to Pakistan not to have lunch, but to deliver a firm message on terrorism at the seventh SAARC meet.
He also said, “I did not see whether my speech was covered live or not. The media personnel from DD, ANI and PTI reporters who had come from India were not allowed to enter. I will not comment whether Pakistan was right or wrong in not allowing coverage of my speech at the SAARC summit. About the ‘blackout’, I will need to ask the Ministry of External Affairs about protocol of past occasions. I have no knowledge of the protocol of past occasions.”
On why Pakistan’s Interior Minister Choudhary Nisar Ali Khan left the lunch organised by him for SAARC ministers, Singh said, “I don’t want to comment on how they treated me. The Home Minister did invite everyone at lunch, but went away after that. I also left then. I have no grudges as I wasn’t there to have lunch. I did not go there to have lunch. I did not register any protest there.”
Singh appreciated the unity of the House on the government’s stand on terrorism.
“It reflects the country’s determination to fight terrorism. Every prime minister of this country has always tried to eradicate terrorism from its root. Our neighbour (Pakistan) is such that it never learns,” he said.’
Earlier, he told the Rajya Sabha about the statement he made at the SAARC conference, saying, “I gave suggestions during the SAARC meeting that ban on terror outfits by the United Nations must be respected. There is no good or bad terrorism. I said there’s not only need to act against terrorism, but also against those who shelter terrorists. Terrorism should neither be encouraged nor should be patronised. Terrorists of a country should not be seen as a ‘martyr’ by other countries. There should be action against all those state and non-state actors which support terrorism.”
Opposition parties rallied behind the government and condemned Pakistan for “the way the home minister was treated”; Mr Singh’s speech was not broadcast by Pakistani media, but India’s foreign ministry has denied that it was a blackout.