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Rise of Taliban has to be contained

In H K Dua’s Editor’s Column “Obama’s AfPak” (May 4), the issues involved in dealing with the AfPak region have been vividly brought into focus. It is clear that unless the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are confronted head-on, terrorism will continue to pose a grave danger to the civilised world. Pakistan’s obsession with India is misplaced and is merely an excuse for not taking on the Taliban. Now it is the Taliban which is acquiring a strategic depth right inside Pakistan and even extending it further.

The world must understand that Pakistan continues to harbour, encourage, train and equip these killers to settle scores with India, Afganistan and the US. There is a need for a proper audit of both military and financial aid given to Pakistan. Pakistan has to understand that terrorists are terrorists and not freedom- fighters. The earlier Pakistan understands the mindset of terrorists, the better it will be for that country.

BRIG H S SANDHU, Panchkula


Mr Dua has aptly described the situation in Pakistan and the rise of the Taliban. It will be a Herculean task for the US President, Mr Barack Obama, to combat the Taliban, which is spreading like an obnoxious weed and is taking firm roots inside Pakistan. It requires not only troops but also full cooperation of Pakistan.

Despite billions of dollars as US aid to Pakistan to fight terrorism, the monster has not been defeated. One wonders where this huge sum of money is going. The US administration must set greater accountability of these funds. Plus, as Pakistan is a nuclear country, it is imperative to ensure the security of its nuclear weapons. There is a danger of the Taliban gaining access to nuclear weapons of Pakistan. India should remain vigilant.

DR SANJIV GUPTA, Perth, Australia

Criminal cases

In the news report “Punjab: Cocktail of crorepatis, criminals” (May 4) I have been listed as one of the criminals. All cases registered against me are of sedition in which I am quoted as demanding an independent, sovereign buffer state between Pakistan and India. In 1947, the Sikhs were left out of their piece of cake when the British Indian Empire was divided communally into Pakistan and India.

Another case apart from sedition is one of Bhagat Singh in which I have as per history said that he was a terrorist for having shot dead an innocent head constable of the police, Chanan Singh, and an Englishman, ASP Saunders, both of whom had not killed any freedom fighter. Besides, Bhagat Singh had lobbed a hand bomb into the Assembly in Delhi in which innocent legislators could have been killed, had the bomb burst.

I am against the killing of innocent people as per the Geneva Conventions that dictate the rules of combat. Before me, Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhbhai Patel and others have also been charged under sedition as I have been charged for demanding an independent, sovereign buffer state for the Sikhs.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)

Too little, too late

The editorial “Combating the Taliban” (May 1) touched upon a very significant aspect. It rightly dubbed the action of the Pakistan army in clearing the Taliban from Dir and Buner districts as “too little, too late”.

Undisputedly, much more remains to be done. The stark reality is that the Taliban is in occupation of nearly 11 per cent of the Pakistani territory. The Taliban and other terrorist organisations that routinely target India must be neutralised.


Undertrials and right to vote

It is indeed unfortunate that in our country, which is the world's largest democracy, although an undertrial is allowed to contest an election he is not permitted to cast his vote. According to the Section 62 (5) of Representation of People's Act, 1951, no person shall vote in any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police.

Though a relaxation is given to a person subjected to preventive detention, is it fair to deny other undertrials the voting right? Right to vote is an inherent right.

When it is a settled law that the persons in lawful custody of the state are only deprived of liberty and nothing else and are entitled to every human right, this anomaly needs to be redressed immediately. Sadly, even the Supreme Court has upheld this provision of disenfranchising a person during the period of incarceration on the ground that it is in the public interest to prevent criminalisation of politics. But if that is so, why are the undertrials accorded the right to contest?

HEMANT KUMAR, Advocate, Ambala city



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