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At Islamabad meet, Rajnath to ask Pak to stop sponsoring terror


New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring terror in India and to rein in groups like LeT and JeM during the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ conference to be held in Islamabad on August 4.

Official sources said Singh is unlikely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan separately as top echelons of the government feel that time is not conducive for a bilateral meeting.

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

Singh’s visit comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. Wani was a wanted terrorist of banned Hizbul Mujahideen.

Not only did 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”.

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.

The three-tier meeting will begin at the joint secretary- level and then move on to Secretary and Home Minister-level meetings.

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

The last meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ conference was held in Kathmandu in 2014 when the Home Minister had said that member nations of the group were facing common challenges and they should cooperate with each other to address them.

The Home Minister had also voiced concern over the new threats of terrorism and violence to South Asia and asked SAARC countries to chalk out strategies to check radical groups and extremist ideologies.


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