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When a glass of juice turned frosty Indo-Pak standoff into bonhomie
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Islamabad: The SAARC summit on Interior/home affairs had a cold start on Thursday when the Indo-Pak interior secretaries had miscommunication in their one on one meeting and the delegates failed to approve few key proposals to cooperate in the fields of police and immigration.
A top official of Pakistan’s interior ministry told ANI that the two sides had a bad taste when Indian secretary Home Affairs Gopal K Pillai rejected the venue for the one on one meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudary.
“The organizers had selected a room for this meeting on ground floor of the Serena Hotel where this conference is taking place and all the delegates are staying. But the Indian secretary refused to attend this session in that room and asked the Pakistani secretary Interior for meeting in the room where he (Gopal K Pillai) was staying,” said the official.
“Pakistani secretary then went into his room but the two officials could not have a good start as the issue of terrorism came under discussion as the first point when the Indian secretary mentioned that SAARC can’t go ahead until Pakistan stops terrorism,” he said.
“Pakistan is involved in terrorist activities in India and Afghanistan. Even USA is aware of this fact, how can SAARC progress in these conditions,” the official quoted Indian secretary as telling his Pakistani counterpart.
He said that Pakistani secretary interior in reply told Pillai that India was doing terrorism and infiltration in Balochistan and if terrorism is to be stopped then both sides have to stop it.
“Later, the common sense prevailed and both officials discussed all other issues after Indian secretary threw a joke and offered a glass of juice to Pakistani secretary interior, who was guest in Pillai’s room at that point.
“Then the meeting lasted for around 45 minutes and two sides discussed all the points,” he said.
Meanwhile the meeting of 8th SAARC conference on cooperation in immigration and police matters failed to finalize key proposals after India and Pakistan opposed to certain issues.
The under secretary in Home Ministry of India A K Sahu told ANI that the meeting discussed the proposals of establishing an institute of criminology, police networking and issuing SAARC Sticker Visas on the model of European Union visas but could not finalize anyone and deferred it to next session after the differences.
Providing further details, Farkhand Iqbal, the Director General of National Police Bureau Pakistan, said that these recommendations were deferred because initially Pakistan and India had objections on mechanism.
“We could not afford the networking of police department and establishing the hotline because how can we provide information to Indian Police department when they are our enemy country. Likewise India had problems with issuing visas for SAARC countries,” he said.
Iqbal revealed that both India and Pakistan offered to establish the Institute of Criminology in their countries and eventually the idea was dropped because none of them was willing to allow the other to win the offer.
“It is clear, India would not allow an advantage to Pakistan and we will also do the same thing with them. So we use the other countries to block a proposal which we don’t like. India asks Nepal and Bhutan to oppose a proposal which it does not like and we ask Bangladesh to vote against a recommendation which we think is against our interest,” he said.
Farkhand Iqbal added that a session on cooperation in immigration and police matters will also be held on Friday but all these three recommendations were unlikely to be approved.
“We deferred these proposals for further discussion but I think it will go to next SAARC summit whenever it will be held. Because at SAARC we need unanimous support and if one country opposes a proposal, it stands dropped,” he said.
Meanwhile a consultative meeting between Indian Secretary Foreign Affairs Nirpuma Rao and Secretary Home Affairs Gopal K Pillai held on Thursday evening and they finalized the Indian sides proposals for secretary and minister level meetings of SAARC. They also discussed the developments at the foreign and interior secretary level talks.
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