New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in an acerbic comment on Pakistan while informing parliament about his brief but tense visit to Islamabad, said on Friday: “All our PMs have done their best to improve relations with our neighbours but yeh padosi hai ki maanta hi nahin hai (this neighbour never learns).”
Mr Singh also said that at the SAARC meeting of home ministers in Islamabad on Thursday, India took a strong stand against terror and urged all members that “there is a need to take strongest action not just against terrorists but also those who support terrorism.”
“Pakistan as the biggest violator of human rights,” he said, in a response to his Pakistani counterpart’s allegations yesterday of rights violations in Kashmir. Mr Singh’s statement was discussed in the Rajya Sabha a day after he returned from his 24-hour visit to Islamabad which was replete with strong messages telegraphing bitterness on both sides.
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.
“I strongly condemn how Pakistan didn’t maintain protocol and treated our home minister, the entire nation stand united,” Janata Dal United leader Sharad Yadav said. The home minister replied: “It is true that reporters who had come from India were not allowed to enter.” Amid cries of “shame” from the house, he continued: “I will not comment whether Pakistan was right or wrong in not allowing coverage. I did not register any protest there. I will need to ask the foreign ministry about protocol of past occasions.”
At the summit, the home minister used his address to further India’s complaint of Pakistan inciting the recent unrest in Kashmir which has left at least 50 people dead in clashes that began with last month’s shooting of 22-year-old terrorist Burhan Wani by security forces. “I urged all (SAARC) members that terrorists should not be glorified nor should they be patronized,” the home minister told the Rajya Sabha.
India has deplored Pakistan for lionizing Wani and calling protest marches against his killing. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly expressed his regret about Wani’s death.