‘Yeh padosi hai ki manta hi nahi’: Rajnath Singh’s swipe at Pakistan in Rajya Sabha
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who returned to India after attending SAARC Home Ministers conference in Islamabad on Thursday evening, today briefed the Rajya Sabha on his visit, saying he has put India’s stand across in Islamabad. He informed the Parliament that he had urged member counties “not to glorify or patronise terrorists”.
Rajnath’s visit, however, was more in news for the open protests by militants ahead and during his visit and the mistreatment meted out to him by Pakistan during his visit.
Reacting to reports of a 'blackout' of his speech during the SAARC meeting, he said, “It is true that Doordarshan, ANI & 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,” he added.
The reaction came after there were reports that Rajnath Singh's speech was reportedly blacked out as media organisations were not allowed to cover the 7th SAARC Home/Interior Ministers' conference. The only broadcaster allowed inside the venue was state-owned Pakistan Television.
Rajnath also confirmed that he skipped a lunch hosted by the Pakistan government.
“I do want to say that the Pakistan Home Minister invited me for lunch but then he went away in a car. I also did what was necessary to maintain the prestige of India. I don’t have any grudges. I didn’t go there for lunch,” Singh said.
“Our Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had famously said that friends can change but neighbours can’t change. Our former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had expressed solidarity and said Pakistan is also a victim of terror. But they (Pakistani establishment) don’t consider themselves as our neighbours,” Singh added.
“I have no hesitation in saying every Indian PM, regardless of whichever party, has shown determination in fighting against terror,” Singh added.
“Yeh padosi hai ki manta hi nahi (this neighbour just won’t listen),” Singh said referring to Pakistan.
Need action against those who support terrorism
“I’ve placed India’s stand across in Islamabad. During SAARC interior Home Ministers meet, I urged all members that terrorists should not be glorified nor should be patronised. A terrorist in one nation cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. They should not make the mistake of distinguishing between good terrorism and bad terrorism,” he told the Rajya Sabha.
“I said that there is a need for strongest action not just against the terrorists but also those who support terrorism,” he added.
Singh, apparently referring to the ban imposed by the UN on Hafiz Saeed’s JuD, said that he had suggested to the SAARC Ministers that sanctions and bans imposed against terrorists by the global community have to be honoured.
"It is important for nations who have not ratified SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters to do it," he said, adding Pakistan has so far not ratified this Convention as well as SAARC Terrorist Offenses Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and SAARC Drug Offenses Monitoring Desk (SDOMD).
"I was told on behalf of Pakistan that they will soon act on ratifying these. And I hope that 'soon' is actually soon," he added.
The agenda of the meeting was terrorism, smuggling of narcotic drugs, cyber crime and human trafficking. Almost all countries, condemned terrorism in strongest possible term, he said.
India placed special emphasis on terrorism as it posed the single biggest threat to peace and prosperity of South Asia, he said. "I called upon them to firmly resolve to uproot terrorism."
The Home Minister said dark clouds of terrorism have engulfed not just South Asia but the entire world.
"The entire world community is concerned about this serious threat. This was clear not just from the clear message India gave on the threat it poses to humanity, but also from the fact that most nations also expressed concern over it," he said.
India's message is for humanity and human rights because "terrorism is the biggest threat to human rights," he said.
At the meeting, Singh said the initiatives announced by India included offering technical assistance to make STOMD and SDOMC more effective.
India has also offered to host a meeting of experts on SAARC Anti Terrorism Mechanism on September 22-23, he said, adding he offered provision of training to SAARC member nations on preventing narcotics trade.
New Delhi also said it was ready to hold the first meeting of member state on Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), the Home Minister said.
Singh said he informed the SAARC Ministers about recent initiatives by Government for women and child safety as also about financial inclusion schemes of Jandhan and Aadhaar to provide honest, transparent and accountable governance.
Congress welcomes Rajnath Singh’s powerful speech in Pak
The Congress also welcomed Singh’s stern speech asking to stop encouraging terror groups and "glorification" of terrorists.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad condemned the protests by Hafiz Saeed’s organisation against Singh’s visit.
“If Home Minister did not receive respect and honour due to him in Pakistan during his visit as per protocol, we condemn it,” Azad said.
In Islamabad, Singh had delivered a powerful speech asking Pakistan to stop "glorification" of terrorists and also called for "strongest action" against nations supporting terrorism and their isolation.
Without mincing any words amid the strain in Indo-Pak relations, Singh said mere condemnation of terrorism and terrorists is not enough and that there are "no good terrorists or bad terrorists".
Singh's comments came against the backdrop of Sharif's praise of Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8 and his description of Hizbul Mujahideen commander as a martyr, much to India's ire.