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Rajnath to visit Pak despite threat by Hafiz Saeed

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New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Pakistan on Wednesday to attend the SAARC Home Ministers’ conference, notwithstanding threat by LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and is expected to ask Islamabad to stop sponsoring terror in India.

“The SAARC meeting is a multilateral meeting. There are some commitments. He is not going to give some message or having a separate meeting with (the) Pakistani Home Minister,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters here.

He was responding to questions about threats made by the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder over the Home Minister’s visit. Saeed warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan by his outfit if Singh arrives in Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference.

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”.

The Home Minister will reach Islamabad on Wednesday and return to New Delhi the next day after attending the 7th meeting of SAARC Interior/ Home Ministers.

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.

PTI

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