Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh
By Sajjad Shaukat
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Pakistan on August 3, this year to participate in the 3-day conference of the interior ministers/home ministers and other delegates of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states, held in Islamabad.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit came at a time, when the tensions between Pakistan and India is running high in the aftermath of weeks-long violence in India-occupied ‘held’ Kashmir.
In his address to the SAARC interior ministers’ conference, like the past practice, India’s home minister made a direct taunt, aimed at the Pakistani government for its strong condemnation of the killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani by Indian forces.
Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani
In response, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, “use of excessive force to suppress protests in the Indian-held Kashmir…using torture against innocent children and violence against civilians qualifies as terrorism…there is a need to end an extremist mindset and instead try to solve regional issues with dialogue. Nisar added, “Like the attacks in Pathankot, Kabul, Mumbai and Dhaka…Pakistan too has lost many innocent lives due to terrorism…the use of blame game has not benefited anyone for the past six decades.”
Referring again to unrest in India-occupied Kashmir, the federal minister stated, “No country should suppress freedom struggles, while camouflaging them under the guise of terrorism.” Nisar reiterated the Kashmiri freedom struggle is sanctified by United Nations resolutions. As Indian government officials were feeling guilty in wake of continued state terrorism on the Kashmiris, hence, they made it clear that Singh will not have a separate meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
However, no bilateral meeting between the Indian home minister and his Pakistani counterpart took place on the sidelines of the ministerial conference of SAARC. Earlier, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured the SAARC conference that Pakistan will stand alongside its South Asian neighbours to eradicate corruption, organised crime and terrorism from the region. He elaborated, “The National Action Plan and carrying out the operation Zarb-i- Azb…the success proves that Pakistan is committed towards wiping out terrorism from its territory…Pakistan wishes for peace in all countries across the region and has always supported SAARC in pursuit of its goals.”
In fact, It is due to Indian war-mongering policy, desire to become a super power of Asia, illegal occupation of Kashmir and delaying tactics in settling all outstanding issues with Islamabad, particularly the Kashmir dispute that SAARC could not achieve its real objectives.
Nevertheless, thousands of people thronged the streets across Pakistan to protest against the visit of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, holding rallies, raising anti-India slogans and setting ablaze effigies of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi and Indian flags to condemn the Indian Army’s atrocities in occupied Kashmir.
In Islamabad, leaders and activists belonging to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, the United Jihad Council and other human rights organisations chanted slogans against India for the recent acts of barbarism and human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir. They said that there was no other way to resolve the Kashmir issue, but to paving the way for Kashmiris’ right to self-Kashmiri leaders urge the international community and the world human rights organisations to take notice of Indian state terrorism and aggression on the Kashmiris and exert pressure on India to withdraw the occupation forces from the Valley.
In Lahore, the main rally was held on the Mall road outside Masjid-i- Shuhada and participated by a large number of students, lawyers, traders, civil society and people from other walks of life. The protesters were holding placards and banners bearing inscriptions against India and in support of Kashmiris and were raising slogans against Pakistani rulers for receiving the representative of a killer government—carrying out genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims.
Addressing the a protest-rally, Jamaatud Daawa (JD) Ameer Hafiz Saeed said that Islamabad should have emulated the Kashmiri leaders from occupied valley, who had refused to meet Rajnath Singh when he visited the Indian Occupied Kashmir recently. He appealed to the world to send a caravan for Kashmiris carrying essential food and medicine supplies like on the pattern of Freedom Flotilla for Palestinians, since Kashmiris today are facing severe shortage of food and medicines because of complete blockade of the valley for the last four weeks.
Nonetheless, the visit of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh was quite significant in the backdrop of boiling situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir and Mehbooba Mufti’s demand from Indian government “to restart the peace process with Pakistan” initiated by former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Ms. Mufti had tried to cool own situation in the Indian-controlled Kashmir on the sidelines of Peoples Democratic Party’s 17th foundation day by saying that she would have spared life of Burhan Wani in case, she had knowledge about his (Wani’s) presence during the encounter.
The statement is although a political stunt, yet its impact on BJP-PDP
coalition in the Indian-held Kashmir and Raj Nath Singh’s visit to Pak, seems immense.
The Indian-held Kashmir is bracing continued siege and prolonged curfew for more than 28 days, while Indian security forces have martyred more than 80 innocent persons in these days.
But, indigenous freedom movement by Kashmiri people against the Indian occupation forces have accelerated since the Indian forces martyred Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
It is notable that since the leader of the ruling party BJP Modi became Prime Minister of India, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities even of lower cast-Hindus, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan etc. clearly show that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism). Especially, assaults on Christians and Muslims including their places of worships and property have been intensified by the fanatic Hindu mobs.
While, New Delhi has introduced various laws and new battalions, but the same has failed in suppressing various freedom movements and uprisings all over India. As regards India’s relations with neighbouring countries and role in SAARC, there is no neighbour around India, which does not suffer from her arrogance. Whenever the situation is favourable for a meaningful dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi, RSS driven BJP creates conditions to cook up lame excuses to pollute the diplomatic ambiance.
BJP government‘s trademark allegations against Pakistan and incessant demand for probe or cooperation on various orchestrated issues by the Indian intelligence agencies are also noteworthy. In this respect, blame game against Pakistan for its failures has always been the favorite tactics and an easy way out for New Delhi. In this context, regarding terror attacks in Mumbai, Gurdaspur and Pathankot or any other incident, the blame on Islamabad came within minutes of the incident, forgetting the fact that a large numbers of separatist movements are active in India, in addition to its unruly extremist politico-religious elements.
Let us take the example of Pathankot incident, Indian demand for cooperation and probe is unjustified as no substantiated evidence has been shared with Pakistan, despite repeated demands by Islamabad. Pakistani media may highlight Samjhota express, Maligaon and such like other incidents which clearly indicated the involvement of Hindu extremist organization elements/ serving Army officers, but the culprits are either set scot free or exonerated by the India extremist influenced Judiciary.
Returning to our earlier discussion, Indian Home Minister’s Rajnath Singh’s visit to Pakistan has badly failed in wake of recent violence by the Indian occupying forces which keep on killing the innocent Kashmiris.