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No ‘media blackout’ of Rajnath Singh's SAARC speech in Pakistan: Govt sources

Pakistan on Thursday blacked out Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s address at SAARC Interior Ministers’ meet in which he gave a stern message to Islamabad on its efforts to eulogise terrorists as martyrs.
India TV News Desk Islamabad August 04, 2016 18:42 IST
India TV News Desk

As the media erupted over the reports of Pakistan’s blackout of Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement during the SAARC ministerial meeting, India described these reports as "misleading".

"With reference to the Home Ministers meeting in Islamabad earlier today, media reports of a 'blackout' of our Home Minister's statement are misleading,” a government source said.

"It is the standard SAARC practice that the opening statement by the host country is public and open to the media while the rest of the proceedings are in camera, which allows for a full and frank discussion of issues," he added.

The reaction came after there were reports that Rajnath Singh's speech was blacked out as media organisations, including Pakistani and Indian private TV news channels, were barred from covering the 7th SAARC Home/Interior Ministers' conference.

Even this morning, members of the Indian media were kept at a distance by Pakistan, which led to a verbal clash between officials of the two sides. There was a heated argument between Pakistani officials and Indian Embassy officials during a photo-session.

The only broadcaster allowed inside the venue was state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), which did not air the address by Rajnath.  

Reacting to the reports of blackout, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu termed it the “Pakistan model of democracy.”

Rajnath Singh slams Pakistan on "eulogising terrorists as martyrs"

In his speech, Rajnath Singh today came down heavily on Pakistan for adopting a dual stand on the issue of eliminating terrorism.

Addressing the seventh SAARC Interior/Home Ministers conference in Islamabad, Singh asked the Pakistani government to stop playing the card of ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’.

“There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists,” he said.

Referring to Pakistani government’s declaration of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani as a ‘martyr’, he said, “There should be no glorification or eulogising of terrorists as martyrs.”

Calling for quick action against terrorists, Singh said, “Mere strong condemnation of terrorism and terrorists is not enough. There should be strongest action not only against terrorists or organisations but also against those individuals, organisations and nations who support terrorism.”

Even the behaviour of Rajnath Singh showed obvious signs of tension between the two sides in the aftermath of Kashmir unrest.

After his speech, Rajnath barely shook hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nisar Ali Khan before walking off from the venue.

Singh did not even attend the lunch hosted by Khan. Pakistani interior minister invited Rajnath to the lunch before walking off towards the venue, but Rajnath left the venue without attending it.

The July 8 killing of Wani was followed by provocative statements from the Pakistani government on the current situation in the Valley. The Pakistani premier had even declared Wani, a wanted militant of banned Hizbul Mujahideen group, a ‘hero’ and even observed a ‘black day’ in solidarity with him.