Jaitley likely to skip Saarc meet in Islamabad

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) With India’s relations with Pakistan touching a new low, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to give a miss to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Finance Ministers’ meet in Islamabad scheduled for August 25-26.

“Ultimately, it is the government’s decision whether the Finance Minister goes to Islamabad or not. But so far, he is not likely to go. I think this is one way to snub Pakistan,” Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh told IANS on Tuesday.

The possibility arises after Home Minister Rajnath Singh was given a cold shoulder by Pakistan authorities when he visited Pakistan this month to attend the Saarc Home/Interior Ministers’ conference.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar compared Pakistan with hell.

“Going to Pakistan and going to hell is the same thing,” Parrikar said in Rewari in Haryana. He did not elaborate.

India has been accusing Pakistan of fanning unrest in the Kashmir Valley in the wake of 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani being killed in a gun battle with security forces on July 8.

In the ensuing violence, 65 persons have died and around 5,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces. Pakistan has been trying to draw international attention to the issue, and India has accused it of fomenting unrest in the valley.

–IANS

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