Tuesday, December 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Extremism in Kashmir

Apropos of the article ‘‘Extremism harming Kashmiris: fresh look at facts can help’’ (Frankly Speaking, Dec 15), Pakistan's agenda in the past 52 years has been to wrest Kashmir and break our country. Whether it was Ms Benazir Bhutto's ‘azadi, azadi’ call or General Musharraf's Kargil misadventure, Pakistan's foreign policy has always revolved round the idea of annexing Kashmir. If anything, Islamabad's intentions acquired greater urgency after the Bangladesh war. It now wants to do to India what it believes India did to Pakistan in 1971. How can any truce or peace be possible as long as our neighbour's military and national agenda remains violence?

Humanity, secularism, decency, morality and democracy distinguish us from Pakistan. The Muslims of Kashmir do have a problem which calls for political action and not a holy war. Let not the concept of jehad be demeaned. There is a good description of 'jehad' in the Holy Quran: it (jehad) may require fighting in Allah's cause, as a form of self-sacrifice, not for selfish or worldly motives. Violence against our own brethren is particularly preposterous.

Islamic armies in the past were known for their human approach. Islam would have not spread as it did if they were not so. But do the Kashmiris really believe that Pakistan is an Islamic state? Can a Kashmiri Muslim truly say that his faith, Islam, is in danger in India or even that his faith would be better protected by the mafia that rules Pakistan? Have the Kashmiris forgotten the experience of East Pakistan? Do they know how disenchanted with Pakistan are their own brethren across the Line of Control (LoC)? Do they know why there is not a whisper of protest against Islamabad in POK despite total disillusionment? It is simply because the Pakistani Kashmiris have never enjoyed any political rights.


No agreement between Pakistan and India will succeed in ending the violence in Kashmir and the trauma of the Kashmiris. No agreement will enable 2,50,000 Pandits who have already been ethnically cleansed from the valley to return to their homes and live in peace. Were India to make any agreement with the Musharraf government today, it would find that it had once again made concessions in its anxiety to restore peace, as it did at the UN in 1948 and 1949, in the Indus Waters Treaty and again after the 1965 and 1971 wars, and gained nothing in return.

If General Musharraf wants peace with India, if he wants to resume the dialogue over Kashmir he must first demonstrate that he can control the jehadis and the ISI. He must find out who planned the Chattisinghpora massacre and publicly punish them. Only then can he reassure India and the rest of the world that Pakistan has the capacity to live up to its commitments.

k. m. vashisht

Of power & corruption

Mr Hari Jaisingh deserves kudos for his stinging article “Of power and corruption — Problem of missing political will” (The Tribune, Dec. 8) articulating the muffled cry of anguish of the harried Indian masses in the face of the all-pervasive corruption.

Over the years this evil has flourished in the country by leaps and bounds.

Instead of meeting the challenge boldly, the powers that be seem to have acted in the matter painfully lackadaisically, betraying an utter lack of the requisite political will. The louder is the noise against this hydra-headed monster, the wider go its tentacles.

Under a money-oriented value system, characterised by consumerism and materialism it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove this deadly canker from the body-politic. The best course, under the circumstances, would be to “nationalise” corruption, undoubtedly the most flourishing business of the day. The experienced politician-bureaucrat-businessman axis can be appointed “commission agents” on attractive terms to ensure 100 per cent success.

Ambota (Una)


Save democracy

Apropos of your editorial, "Problems can wait, we are parliamentarians!" (December 13), I may state that approximately Rs 2 lakh is spent, nay wasted, on an MP or an MLA every month. Ministers cost much more.

In return they do sweet little to justify this colossal expenditure. Hardly any legislator takes any serious interest to raise and debate substantive issues facing the country.

They, however, specialise in raising non-issues and obstructing the proceedings of the House, Parliament, the mother of all legislatures, is the worst sufferer. No legislative business is allowed to be transacted for days on end. By indulging in unnecessary cacophony, they only expose themselves.

And now there is a move to further enhance the salaries and perks of the MPs. There will certainly be no obstruction to the proceedings that day. The MPs will suddenly turn gentlemen, all parties will close ranks and the Bill will be passed unanimously.

The politicians have made politics their profession. So, like true businessmen, they understand the language of profit only. Public good is their last concern.

A time may soon come when public tolerance may get exhausted and the people may rise against the rulers. That will be a sad day. The rulers must see the writing on the wall.

Democracy is in grave danger. I call upon the leaders — the true ones, a few still left — to come forward to save and strengthen democracy.

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd)


Prof S.M. Bose's views on quackery, which appeared in "The Health Tribune" on December 13, are appreciable. I would like to appeal to the Government of Punjab, medical organisations and the media to play a positive role in eradicating the menace of quackery in the interest of suffering humanity. In spite of the clear directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh to root out quackery, no visibly effective steps have been taken in this direction. There are about one lakh quacks practising modern medicines in Punjab. The problem needs to be tackled effectively on a priority basis.



No work, no pay for MPs

My heart weeps at the conduct of some of the M.P.s, over the Ayodhya issue. The only course left to them is shouting rushing to the well of the House, creating chaos and force adjournment of the House. Unnecessary walk-outs, impatient exchanges, disorderly scenes, noisy uproars have degraded the House. Their irresponsible behaviour has cost the nation a loss of Rs 5000 per minute, Rs 3 lakh per hour, Rs 21 lakh per day and Rs 14 crore per week. Each M.P. represents 12 to 15 lakh people. The voter of the largest democracy wants to know what has gone wrong with the repository of his faith.

Dozens of bills await the attention of Parliament. One is not sure of their fate but the one that is to increase the pay and perks of the M.P.s will be passed without much discussion and may be with a unanimous vote amidst thunderous applause! Why should they not pass a law that contains a provision of “No Work, No Pay and Perks” for themselves too?

No code of conduct, no Do’s and Don’ts, no lists of “unparliamentary words” will serve the purpose unless the elected representatives of the people develop the will and urge to utilise every minute of Parliament for a meaningful cause.

It is now for the voters to assess the performance of their nominees, put them in the dock and call them to account, reprimand them and show them the door in the next elections. They must be made to realise that they owe an explanation to the people about what they contribute to the building of the nation.


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