Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday termed violence on Kashmiris by Indian security forces as ‘terrorism.’
Addressing a one-day meeting of home ministers from countries belonging to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), Nisar said there was a difference between fighting for freedom and terrorism. “The violence being committed against the innocent people of Indian held Kashmir is open terrorism,” Nisar said during his extempore address as Pakistan’s interior minister.
Earlier, the minister left his seat of speaker to address all issues point by point raised by home ministers of the member countries.
“We have always wished to work in close cooperation with all our neighbours and we believe all pending issues can be addressed through dialogue.”
Nisar went on to claim that Pakistan suffered heavy losses in the fight against terrorism and the country condemned every single incident of terror which claimed innocent lives.
The interior minister’s remarks come in the backdrop of escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals over unrest in disputed Kashmir.
The Saarc group includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The rivalry between Islamabad and New Delhi has hampered efforts to transform Saarc into a meaningful platform for integration in South Asia, which accounts for a fifth of the world’s population but less than a tenth of its economic output.
Both countries have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which each rules in part but claims in full. The line of control dividing the Himalayan region still broadly runs along the front when the guns fell silent in 1948.
Rajnath Singh, Nisar barely shake hands at Saarc meet
The strain in India-Pakistan ties was sharply evident as Chaudhry Nisar and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh barely shook hands as they met for the first time at a SAARC conference, NDTV reported.
Nisar was receiving ministers at the entrance of the Serena Hotel when the two came face to face. The leaders barely touched their hands and did not even pose for a photograph as Rajnath moved towards the meeting hall.