Govt downplays Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin threat; says Rajnath’s Pak visit on as scheduled
The government today downplayed Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed's threat to Rajnath Singh’s Pakistan visit and said that the Home Minister will travel to Islamabad this week to attend the SAARC Home Ministers' conference as scheduled.
"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 JuD chief Saeed 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.
Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Salahuddin and Jamaat ud Daawa chief Hafiz Saeed have warned the Pakistani government against welcoming Rajnath Singh ahead of later's visit to Islamabad.
Accusing the Home Minister of "deploying soldiers in Kashmir to shed the blood of innocents", Salahuddin threatened to stop Singh if he arrives in the country to attend the SAARC ministerial conference.
Hafiz Saeed issued a statement saying, "I want to ask the Pakistani government will it add insult to injury to the wounds of Kashmiris by welcoming Rajnath who is responsible for the killings of innocent Kashmiris.”
The mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack said "if Singh comes to Islamabad on August 3, the JuD would hold countrywide protest to tell the world that the Pakistani rulers might have compulsions to receive Kashmiris' killers but the people of Pakistan are siding with oppressed Kashmiris".
"It will be ironical as on the one hand the whole Pakistani nation is protesting against the Indian atrocities in Kashmir and on the other hand the Pakistani rulers will be garlanding Singh," said the statement issued today.
He added that protest demonstrations will be held and rallies taken out in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad, Muzaffarabad and other cities of the country on August 3.
Saeed, who is carrying a USD 10 million US bounty on his head, warned the government that Singh's presence in Islamabad may create "unrest" among Kashmiris as well as Pakistanis in the face of scores of killings of Kashmiris "at the hands of Indian forces".
The people of Kashmir had refused to meet Singh during his Srinagar visit, he said adding the PML-N government "must also refuse to receive the BJP leader on the excuse that it may hurt and incite feelings of Kashmiris and Pakistanis."
Although the Indian government has made it clear that there will be no bilateral meeting between Mr Singh and Pakistani leaders during the SAARC ministerial conference on August 4, the visit comes amid a sharp rise in tensions between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Syed Salahuddin asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to immediately recall its ambassador from New Delhi and "suspend trade and diplomatic ties" with India in the wake of ongoing unrest in the Valley that have left 49 people dead following Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's killing.
The Pakistani government should not have invited Singh to the SAARC conference, he said.