Friday, June 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Indo-Pak summit in the shadow of nuclear arsenal

Apropos Mr Hari Jaisingh's "General Musharraf v. President MusharrafĒ (June 22), when all powers concentrate in one person, an unpopular caucus develops around that person which leads him from one error to another. General Musharraf with four heads: what an unholy mess!

President Musharraf has already roped in the APHC not to come in the way of his dialogue. The development is a turn to be watched with curiosity. That means the Muslim terrorists of all hues who had directly or indirectly provided substance to the military regime in bleeding the Indian security forces have been so reined in.

Kashmiri society is under attack from the lunatic fringe led by extremist forces. It is a challenge to the right thinking people who believe in the country's heritage of righteousness and tolerance.

There is one over-riding reason why India and Pakistan must engage themselves in serious talks. It is the overt nuclearisation of both countries. The U.S.A. having tried and failed to persuade to roll back their nuclear programmes, both have been declared nuclear weapon powers. The new nuclear arsenal of both is there to stay.




PLEBISCITE IS NO MONSTER: It is believed that the conversion of the LoC into an international border was an unwritten clause of the Simla agreement but it was not implemented by Pakistan nor pursued by India. By far, even today, it is the best solution of the Kashmir issue which would give some satisfaction to both countries of retaining at least some portion of Kashmir.

However, Pakistan keeps harping on plebiscite and by opposing vehemently India gives the impression of being afraid of it. Plebiscite is not such a dreaded monster as Pakistan is trying to make it out for us. The people of Kashmir are a wiser lot by now. They will think twice before opting for Pakistan.

If the proposal on the LoC does not materialise, India may consider accepting Pakistan's challenge to hold a plebiscite provided certain minimum necessary conditions are fulfilled: (a) withdrawal of Pakistani forces from PoK as envisaged in the UN resolution (b) end of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan with consequent cessation of security operations by India to create a congenial environment for holding a plebiscite (c) return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes (d) Non-Kashmiri settlers to be defranchised for this poll (e) restoration of complete normalcy before holding the plebiscite (f) campaigning for the referendum to be allowed to both countries without playing up the religion card.

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

A GOOD GESTURE: In the wake of partition of the country in 1947, three to four crore Hindus and Muslims were forced to leave their homes to seek refuge in the newly formed dominions where a majority of their co-religionists lived.

In the present scenario the coming generation of these families have little idea of their native places in either country. However, the elders who witnessed the holocaust of partition are yearning to visit their places of birth.

The number of such senior citizens is dwindling with every passing day. It would be a laudable gesture if the senior citizens in both countries are issued visas liberally, allowing them to visit their erstwhile homes in either country. We appeal to General Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee to include this issue on the agenda when they meet in New Delhi shortly. This gesture can help reduce tension between the two countries and create a conduce atmosphere to settle contentious issues.

D. P. SHARMA, Dharamsala

INDO-PAK FRIENDSHIP: The Indo-Pak summit from July 14 to 16 is in conformity with the policy of Mr M.A. Jinnah announced during 1946 when he visited Islamia College, Peshawar, and addressed the students. Then I was a student of agriculture in that college and happened to be sitting in the gathering.

Mr Jinnah emphatically announced that, after the creation of Pakistan, he would devote himself to friendship between India and Pakistan which was very essential not only for their welfare but also for their existence.

Mr Jinnah did not live long to accomplish his resolve of friendship but history of the two countries after partition in 1947 has proved that his prediction was absolutely correct. The steps being taken by the Indian Prime Minister and the Pakistani President are bound to bring about the desired results because the era of war has gone and time for friendship has dawned.

D. R. THAKUR, Solan

TALK FIRMLY: Your editorial "Diplomacy of cross-connection" echoes the feelings of millions of countrymen. Mr Vajpayee complimenting General Musharraf on the eve of his taking the oath as the President was ill-advised and is an indication that the ensuing talks between the two are going to be devoid of firmness from our side.

Pakistan needs to be talked firmly as we have already seen the fiasco of bus diplomacy culminating in the Kargil war.

Why should we forget that Mr Bhutto, the executed Prime Minister of Pakistan, had threatened India in the U.N. Assembly with a thousand-year war over Kashmir.

Still a full-scale guerrilla war is continuing in Kashmir by Pakistan trained terrorists and secessionists. Hundreds of jawans and officers of our forces are being killed.

D. S. MATHUR, Ambala cantt

BACK TO CRICKET: The summit can be a golden opportunity for General Musharraf to gain popularity and public support in India as well as Pakistan. He should suggest resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries.

MANAN GUPTA, Kapurthala

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: It appears the devastating Justice Hamoodur Rehman report (about the unspeakable atrocities on the people of East Pakistan by the Pakistani soldiery) has been lost sight of by all concerned this side of the L.O.C: Kashmirs of all persuasions and the authorities in India.

This omission on the part of the former is understandable but why is the Government of India not keeping up a barrage of propaganda? It could help straighten out the warped thinking of Kashmiris who, despite massive pampering, are blind in their ingratitude and forget that their womenfolk are equally vulnerable.

N. KHOSLA, IAS (retd), Panchkula

DONíT TRUST THEM: I am not astonished if General Musharraf has become President of Pakistan. Earlier his predecessors had done the same thing. Gen Ayub Khan and Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled Pakistan for 11 years each. They were in the habit of deferring elections in order to remain in power.

The writer has brought out his impression of the meeting with Nawaz Sharief. I slightly differ with the writer's opinion and would say: never believe the words of politicians. They say something else and act in for their convenience.

MOHAN SINGH, Bathinda cantt

ANTI-INDIA STANCE: Any government in Pakistan, whether democratic or military, can only thrive if it is anti-India. The military establishment in Pakistan, wounded after the 1971 and Kargil events, will not strike peace with India.


Recruiting doctors

The Himachal Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, has strategically covered up his wrong policy of not recruiting even one dental doctor from Government Dental College, Shimla, against 12 general vacancies. Within two days, showing his concern for the inner areas of HP, he has reverted to the wrong policy of recruiting medical officers on a contract basis.

HP government medical and dental colleges have sufficient capacity to meet the requirement of doctors of the Health Department. Doctors passing out from these colleges are brought up and educated in HP and have executed a bond to serve for five years the government. They are best acclimatised to serve even the interior areas. Therefore they must be directly appointed as medical officers after completion of internship.

Doctors who serve in institutions in hard areas should be nominated for PG on merit in the MBBS and 50 per cent seats should be reserved for them. In this way all doctors passing out from government colleges will get employment and the problem of filling posts in the interior areas will be solved.

Dr RAM SINGH, by e-mail


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