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Home minister Rajnath Singh confirmed on Friday that Indian media was not allowed to cover his speech at a Saarc meeting in Islamabad.
“Indian DD (Doordarshan), PTI and ANI (news agencies) reporters were not allowed to cover my speech,” said Singh in the Rajya Sabha after MPs asked him if there was a deliberate media blackout.
“I am hesitant to say if they (Pakistanti authorities) had behaved as per the norms and protocol,” he said. Singh’s statement contradicts what the government had said on Thursday.
The goverment had played down the controversy over Pakistan’s state-run news channel PTV “not airing” Singh’s speech saying only host country minister’s remarks are shown on live TV.
Rajnath also spoke about why he skipped a lunch hosted by the Pakistan government. “I do want to say that the Pakistan home minister invited me for lunch but then he went away in a car. I also did what was necessary to maintain the prestige of India. I don’t have any grudge. I didn’t go there for lunch,” he said amid appreciation from the treasury benches.
The home minister said that in Pakistan he sought the “strongest” action against countries that back terrorism and pilloried those who eulogise terrorists.
“There should be strongest action against terrorism. The entire world is worried about this extreme threat,” he said in Rajya Sabha while addressing the House about his speech at a meeting of Saarc home ministers in Islamabad. “I urged Saarc members that terrorists should not be glorified or patronised,” he said.
The remarks were an apparent reference to the stance adopted by Pakistan on slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and the subsequent unrest in Kashmir that left about 50 people dead last month. Islamabad angered New Delhi by referring to Wani as a “Kashmiri leader” and a “martyr” besides describing his death as an “extrajudicial killing”.


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