Rajnath speech: Keeping media away standard SAARC practice, say sources

New Delhi, Aug. 4 : Reprimanding media reports of 'blackout' of Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement at the seventh meeting of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers as "misleading", Indian sources said it is the standard practice that the opening statement by the host country is made public and open to the media, while the rest of the proceedings are in camera, which allows for a full and frank discussion on issues.

Earlier, the Indian media, which visited Islamabad to report on the conference, were not allowed to cover the speech.

They were reportedly kept at a distance by the Pakistani officials. Some reports said that there was an aggressive verbal exchange between officials of the two sides over the issue.

Only Pakistan state PTV was allowed to cover introductory speeches of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.

Even private Pakistani media were not allowed to cover the event. Earlier, when Home Minister Singh came face- to-face with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan for the first time today, the two leaders barely shook hands.

As Singh arrived at the venue of the conference at the posh Serena Hotel in Islamabad, Khan was at the gate to receive the dignitaries.

The two leaders barely touched their hands, not even a formal handshake, before Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall.

The Indian media were not allowed to capture the moment, which led to a verbal dual between a senior Indian official and a Pakistani official.

Source: ANI