Pakistan unaware of talks with India on SAARC summit sidelines

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Pakistan on Thursday said it is unaware if there will be any talks on the table between Islamabad and New Delhi on the sidelines of seventh SAARC meeting on August 4, in wake of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh visit to the country. Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, pointed that on such occasions, there are expectation of meetings on the sidelines, but, so far no decision has surfaced.

Rajnath’s visit to Islamabad comes after the Kashmir valley went through protests, following the death of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen. Wani was killed by security forces in an encounter on July 8 and buried in his native place Tral on Saturday, while violent mobs attacked installations of police and paramilitary forces at various places in the Valley and set ablaze several buildings including three police installations.

The civilian death toll since July 8 unrest stands at 47 with one policeman also dead. Rajnath would attend the SAARC Home/Interior Ministers meeting in Islamabad on August 3 and 4. Sources said the Home Minister will raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.

At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the Heads of State decided that the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the Interior/Home Secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism, which they agreed was a challenge to all states and a threat to humanity, and could not be justified on any grounds.