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US must monitor aid to Pakistan

The editorial “Arming Pakistan to the teeth: US must heed India’s word of caution” (Oct 25) has vividly depicted the insensitivity of the US towards Indian concerns that Pakistan has been consistently diverting and misusing the US aid given to it against India and it would not be any different this time. Moreover no heed has been paid to India’s suggestion that there should be a proper monitoring mechanism to ensure that the aid is used for the intended purpose. Time and again, the US has been erring and turning a blind eye to the ground realities.

India is surely in an uncomfortable position as a result of the prevailing scenario in the neighbourhood. Are the Americans not aware of Pakistan’s nefarious designs and its civilian nuclear deal with Beijing? A weak-kneed policy will not bear any fruit. As Pakistan is the world’s epicentre of terrorism, India must convey its displeasure to President Barack Obama and caution him against arming Pakistan. Americans must abstain from dual policy. Otherwise, it would endanger peace in the world.

Capt. SK DATTA, Abohar

Arundhati’s outburst

Arundhati Roy challenging the accession of Kashmir to India is preposterous. This is going too far in the name of democracy and freedom of speech. Regrettably, the Government of India allowed the meeting of Kashmiri separatists in Delhi.

We are facing a number of secessionist movements in the country like that of the Naxalites and the Kashmiris. It is time we put an end to all this nonsense.


Bill for judges

The proposed Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill is a step in the right direction. Once this Bill becomes the law, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts will have to declare their assets and liabilities within 30 days of taking oath. Judges would also have to declare assets and liabilities of their spouses and dependent children by July 31 each year.

The Bill stipulates that a judge should not have close association with individual lawyers, particularly those who practice in the court in which he is a judge. Judges will also not be permitted to allow any member of their immediate family to appear before them. They will not hear a matter involving a member of their family, close relative or a friend.

The Bill prohibits a judge from engaging directly or indirectly in any trade or business. A judge will not be able to accept gifts or hospitality except from his relatives.

The Bill’s intent is to lay down judicial standards and provide for judges’ accountability. It also envisages a credible and expedient mechanism for investigating individual complaints against judges. While it deals only with the conduct of the Supreme Court and High Court judges, there may have to be a way to monitor the District Court and other lower court judges. Why not make the whole judiciary accountable under the ambit of one law?


BJP’s silence

In the ongoing feud between Mr Manpreet Badal and the ruling Akali Dal leadership, the role of the BJP shows how indifferent and apathetic they are to the financial crisis in the state. Their silence is startling.

Instead of observing a calculated silence, they should have expressed their opinion and the party’s stand vis-ŕ-vis the debt waiver proposal and Mr Manpreet Badal’s ouster from the Akali Dal and the government.

Their passivity is unbecoming. Their active and honest participation in the debate could change the colour and texture of the problem and can give a new turn to the whole situation.

CHAMAN ARORA, Ferozepore City

VIP security

The editorial “VIP security in Punjab” (Oct 25) has referred to Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, the former Finance Minister of Punjab, driving his way without any ostentatious show of security compared with two other Badals besieged with security cavalcade at the taxpayer’s cost. Mr Manpreet Badal set an example of living a simple and austere life in consonance with economy of Punjab which is in doldrums.

How can a debt-ridden state think of progress, the empty rhetoric notwithstanding? The late Dilbag Singh who was a minister, too used his own car and was an embodiment of simplicity and nobility. It is high time the security is rationally cut down in view of bogey of threat perceptions. The syndrome of VIP status needs be dispensed with. The reference to High Court slamming is quite apposite if it could appeal to deaf ears.


Rectify anomalies

After the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations salaries of defence personnel are spaced in a narrow band even after the implementation of recommendations of the Secretaries’ Committee appointed by the Prime Minister. The pension of Lieutenant-Generals other than Army Commanders was enhanced from Rs 27,700 to Rs 36,500. However, the pension of four lower ranks still has a difference of just Rs 1,000 — Major-General Rs 26,700, Brigadier Rs 26,150, Colonel Rs 26,050 and Lieutenant-Colonel Rs 25,700.

This anomalous bunching of four important ranks in a small range is the result of the Ministry of Defence accepting a large pay band without specifying the minimum of each rank. Its implications can be serious. First, this shows as if, after a tough time making it to a Lieutenant-Colonel’s rank, there are easy steps to become a Colonel, Brigadier and thereafter a Major-General. In a pyramid structure of an organisation, it is just the opposite.

Secondly, the nominal difference in pension will reduce the incentive to work hard for professional improvement. Thirdly, it will dilute the relative importance of these vital ranks which is so essential for an effective battleworthy fighting formation. Why the Ministry of Defence’s Ex-servicemen Cell has failed to take corrective action is mystifying.

Maj-Gen HARDAYAL SINGH (retd), Chandigarh



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