Saturday, May 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Nation committed to end Pak-backed terrorism
Parliament extends unanimous support to PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
Armed with a unanimous resolution from Parliament, the Government today announced that it would take an “appropriate decision” to tackle Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the wake of the Kaluchak massacre.

A resolution, adopted in a unanimous voice in the two Houses of Parliament, expressed a resolve to “fight against senseless acts of terrorism which are against humanity as a whole in a united and determined manner” and declared “Nation’s commitment to see an end to this menace”.

Condemning the most dastardly attack at Kaluchak on May 14 by terrorists belonging to the LeT and the JeM from across the border, the resolution said it was “essential that leaders of the world community take note of the continuing acts of terrorism encouraged by Pakistan so that united and effective action can be taken against the same”.

Telling the world about India’s consistent efforts to build friendly relations with Pakistan through the mechanisms provided by the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration to solve all existing problems, the resolution expressed disappointment that “our efforts did not meet with the desired response from Pakistan”.

The resolution also conveyed the members’ heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families.

Earlier replying to a day-long discussion on the Kaluchuk massacre, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani said: “In what way we respond and in what way we tell the people, you will soon know. The government will certainly do its duty in this regard.”

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will convene a meeting of Opposition leaders before a decision is taken, he said.

“People will come to know of what action the government will take. It can be through TV, the Prime Minister may broadcast to the nation,” he said.

“Parliament is not the place to announce any specific strategy. The discussion today has empowered the government to weigh all options and arrive at a decisive strategy,” Mr Advani told the House replying to a special debate on the May 14 terrorist strike near Jammu.

Initiating the discussion, Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi while extending an unqualified support to the government for any action to counter acts of terrorism said the government should come out with a strategy to deal with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

She reminded the government that mere “customary rhetoric” would not help resolve the problem.

The Kaluchak massacre would “tempt the government to resort to customary rhetoric but it is no substitute to strategy. If it has any strategy, it should spell it out clearly and once for all. We will continue to stand by the government on such vital issues”, Mrs Gandhi said.

The National Democratic Alliance partners extended full support to the government during the discussion.

Earlier, Mr Advani voiced “deep disappointment” over Washington’s “encouragement” to Pakistan by making it a key ally in the international war against terrorism. This, he said, was conveyed to US Ambassador Robert Blackwill yesterday. Mr Advani said while India was angry with Pakistan, it was “deeply disappointed” with the USA.

He said the unanimity in the House had given the government added strength to its stand that India had to fight its own battle against terrorism and emerge victorious.

“We will emerge victorious,” the Home Minister asserted maintaining that “we will not depend on anyone”.

Observing that there was no place for any rhetoric at this juncture, he said the government would consult the armed forces before reaching a final decision.

Placing the Kaluchak attack on par with the December 13 terrorist strike on Parliament, he said: “We have to give a reply to the jawans guarding the border whose kith and kin have been killed” in Tuesday’s strike.

Responding to a query by Congress member Margaret Alva whether he agreed with the remarks of Army chief S. Padmanabhan that time for action had come, he said the Army chief, at the same time, had stated that the decision had to be taken by the nation. “The government will certainly do its duty in this regard,” he said.


Crucial CCS meeting today
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
India’s response to the May 14 Jammu attack and options before it to deal with Pakistan’s unabated cross-border terrorism would come for a threadbare review tomorrow at a crucial meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

The importance of tomorrow’s meeting, to be presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, can be gauged from the fact that it will be attended by the three service chiefs — Gen S. Padmanabhan, Air Chief Marshal Krishnaswamy and Admiral Manvendra Singh.

Significantly, the Air chief today cut short his visit to the Eastern Air Command, Shillong, to attend tomorrow’s meeting, sources said. 


Smash ultra camps in Pak: BJP, allies
Tribune News Service

BJP activists trying to cross a barrier near the Pakistan Embassy during a demonstration on Friday against the "Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attack" in Jammu recently.
— Tribune photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, May 17
Even as the BJP and some other constituents of the NDA advocated targeting terrorist training camps in Pakistan and crossing the Line of Control for tackling this menace, the Congress and the Left parties underlined the need for a medium to long-term strategy rather than indulging in a rhetoric.

While extending full support to the Atal Behari Vajpayee government in dealing with the Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism, the Opposition regretted that innumerable opportunities for taking stringent action had been squandered away in the past.

Initiating the special discussion in the Lok Sabha on the brutal terrorist attack near Jammu on Tuesday, Congress President and Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi was categoric that the government must evolve a long-term strategy rather than take recourse to “customary rhetoric.”

Emphasising that the strategy must be spelt out clearly once for all, Mrs Gandhi regretted that the government had failed to take effective steps to control terrorism despite unprecedented support from her party.

She had no doubt that the government must be clear in its objective especially as Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were round the corner and the state government and the Centre must ensure that the elections are held on time.

Mrs Gandhi expressed reservations about the real intent of moving the armed forces to the border. She wanted to know what were the concrete gains by stationing the troops on the border for the past five months.

The Congress chief and several other Opposition leaders had no doubt that the problem of terrorism had to be tackled “within our borders by ourselves as evidenced in Punjab.” She said ironically the perpetrators of cross border terrorism were seen as allies in the global war against terrorism despite their double standards and nefarious designs on Jammu and Kashmir.

In a brief intervention, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani appealed to all sections of the House not to dwell on the past but to assist the government in dealing with the terrorist violence as evidenced in Jammu.

Earlier, the first to take the floor from the Treasury Benches was BJP’s Madan Lal Khurana who felt India should take action by striking at terrorist camps inside Pakistan. He demanded that the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries be scrapped.

CPM stalwart Somnath Chatterjee maintained that the war cry from certain quarters in the NDA was not the solution to the Kashmir issue. He suggested stepping up diplomatic and political pressure on Pakistan, initiating the political process in Jammu and Kashmir and heightening vigilance along the border to check infiltration.

He said the talk of war with Pakistan was a serious matter as it should not be forgotten that the neighbour was a nuclear power. Even though India had helped the USA in the global war against terrorism, he wondered if the same was true of the Bush administration in Washington.

TDP leader Yerran Naidu wanted the government to outline its plan of action in tackling the scourge of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. “If any action is initiated against terrorism, the whole country will support the government,” he said.

Former Union Defence Minister and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said it was no use depending on the USA to bail India out. He stressed that fighting Pakistan sponsored terrorism was India’s baby and the sooner New Delhi realised that it would be better for the unity and integrity of the country.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was emphatic a clear message must go to Pakistan that India was prepared to face the consequences of a nuclear war to put an end to the menace of terrorism. “We have to protect our people at all costs and this kind of indiscriminate killings cannot go on indefinitely,” she said.

Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete called for crossing the LOC to crush Pakistan sponsored terrorism. This has become necessary because terrorism is being fuelled from across the border. Time has come to deal a crushing blow to terrorism and Pakistan’s proxy war against India, he added.


Farooq angry at govt’s response

New Delhi, May 17
An angry Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah today said he would have favoured an action by India similar to the one the US President George Bush took against Taliban in Afghanistan.

“I don’t know, you ask them,” Mr Abdullah shot back to a reporter when asked whether he was satisfied with the government’s response to Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism.

Asked for his personal options, he said “I will do what Mr Bush did.”

“I want them to know that our nation is behind any action to end terrorism and that action must be taken,” Mr Abdullah, who seemed peeved over the response of the government, said.

Asked whether he favoured an all-out war with Pakistan, the Chief Minister, almost shouted, “I dont care what action you want me to take. I would take that action if I were in the government.” PTI

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