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 Singh, in a sarcastic comment on Pakistan while telling parliament about his brief visit to Islamabad, said: "All our PMs have done their best to improve relations with our neighbours but yeh padosi hai ki maanta hi nahin hai".
"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 don’t consider themselves as our neighbours,” Singh added.
Singh also appreciated the unity of the House against terrorism. "It reflects the country's determination to fight terrorism," he said.
The home minister also said he was "hestitant to say if the host were courteous... I don't want to comment on it. I have no qualms or complaints". He added that "India is known globally for its 'meheman nawaazi (hospitality)."
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."
He further said that "I will not comment whether Pakistan was right or wrong in not allowing coverage”.
"Unhe jo karna tha unhone kia, mai uss sambandh mein koi pratikriya vyakt nhi karna chahta. Mujhe koi shikwa, shikayat nhi,” Rajnath added.
Responding to questions in Rajya Sabha after making statement on yesterday's conference, the Minister also said that after the meeting was over, Pakistan's Home Minister, who was the host, invited the participants for lunch but left in a car soon thereafter.
"Keeping in mind the country's prestige, I did what I should have done. I have no complaints. I had not gone there for lunch".
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.