Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will press for bringing into operation the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) when he visits Islamabad on Wednesday to take part in the conference of Home Ministers.
The desk was established in Colombo in 1995 to collate, analyse and disseminate information on terror offences, tactics, strategies and methods in the SAARC region.
“There are some technical issues that are coming in the way of making the STOMD functional, despite Pakistan being part of the association; we want to go ahead with the proposal. We are ready to cooperate on all aspects of terror,” said a senior official of the Union Home Ministry, who is part of Mr. Singh’s delegation.
An official said the desk would come in handy for sharing real-time information on terror-related offences among the eight SAARC nations.
Mr. Singh is also likely to raise the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January this year and will speak on the “cooperation” required from Pakistan to nail the perpetrators. According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the attack was carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). India shared investigation details with Pakistan and allowed a Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan to visit the airbase in March-April. The NIA was to be allowed a visit to Pakistan to probe the case but Pakistan has not been forthcoming about it so far.
India has also conveyed to Pakistan that Mr. Singh is facing a threat from various terror organisations and it is Pakistan’s responsibility to provide him security.
“We have told them that the Home Minister is one of the highly protected individuals in India and he has a threat from terror outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the JeM, the Taliban and even the Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). They have assured us of his security,” said a top official of the Home Ministry.
On Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s comments that his organisation would protest Mr. Singh’s visit, the official said: “When the Chinese President came here, many calls for protests were given by Tibetan groups. It was our responsibility to ensure that the protesters were not allowed anywhere near the venue and the hotel. The same [rule] applies to Pakistan now.”
Another official said India would not raise the Kashmir unrest, after the killing of militant Burhan Wani, at the forum. “Kashmir is our internal matter, and why should we raise it with foreign players? If at all we have to discuss [anything], we will raise the issue of funds being given to separatists and terrorists to stoke fire in the region,” the official said.
BSF Director-General K.K. Sharma said: “This [Saeed’s protest call] is the internal matter of Pakistan and I am sure Pakistan Rangers [tasked with guarding the borders] are more than competent to handle this issue.”
Source: The Hindu