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SAARC needs cohesive action

The SAARC as a regional forum will cease to be meaningful if its members cannot agree on significant issues, one of them being the issue of terrorism (editorial, Making SAARC meaningful, July 25). Pakistan should understand that as a State it is responsible for anything that happens within the country. It is hardly an excuse to say that non-State players are responsible for terror attacks. If the Pakistan Government cannot stop these elements, it has no right to continue to hold office.

At the same time, India also has to go beyond words and tell Pakistan in no uncertain terms that India is running out of patience. If the Pakistan Government is really serious, it should cooperate with India in bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai blasts to justice.

Unless the SAARC countries work together in addressing the issue of terrorism, such meetings will not be of much significance so far as we, the citizens of this country, are concerned. They should build consensus on important issues, frame a common policy to address terror, share intelligence, and appreciate genuine work done in this regard.


Corporate influence

I fully endorse the views expressed in the editorial, Conflict of interest: Bureaucrats do self-service (July 22). The corporate sector makes efforts to woo politicians and bureaucrats because of their usefulness. Truly speaking, the corporate sector is controlling politics and dictating policies. It is due to declining moral values and lust for money among bureaucrats and politicians. It is the need of the hour to insulate the system from undesirable corporate influence.

Capt S K DATTA, Abohar

Captive sailors

This refers to the editorial, Thank you, Mr Burney (June 27). It has been mentioned in the editorial that the state governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K, from where four of the six Indian sailors hailed, have not taken up the case in earnest. This is not correct as far as Himachal Pradesh is concerned.

The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, immediately took up the matter with the Centre to get the release of sailor Prashant, hailing from Shimla, and others. The Union Minister for Shipping GK Vasan had responded to the request of the Chief Minister, and assured him that the Union Ministry of Shipping, in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, was working overtime to secure the release of the hostages.

Chief Minister Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal also requested Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna to get the safe release of Prashant and others. The state government remained in constant touch with the Centre till the pirates released the hostages.

BD SHARMA, Director, Information & Public Relations, (HP)

Fare concession

I am partially handicapped and have a valid certificate issued by the civil surgeon, Fatehgarh Sahib. I am an advertisement-booking agent at Rajpura, and the nature of my job is such that I have to travel a lot. The buses of the Punjab Government allow me 50% concession on bus fare. But this concession is denied when I travel by bus from Zirakpur to Chandigarh, which comes under the Union Territory administration.

A person, who is physically handicapped, remains so even when he travels by buses in other states. Indian Railways does not show any such discrimination. I, therefore, strongly feel that no person with a physical handicap should be denied fare concession if he possesses a valid certificate from an authorised agency of any other state in India.


Terror threat

This refers to the editorial, The message from Oslo (July 25). It is true that Norway did not take Al-Qaida head Zawahiri’s threats seriously. While some terror groups have been claiming responsibility, it is true, as the editorial says, they may be trying to confuse the investigators.

It is important for the international community to realise that terrorism is no longer to be taken lightly, even if it is just a threat. Terrorists do not have any regard for international borders. Though they talk about one ideology or the other, the truth is they do not adhere to any principles.

Nothing explains the killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children. One can understand fighting for a genuine cause, but killing people cannot be condoned even if it is done for some lofty ideal.

Here it is worth mentioning that terrorism, as a phenomenon, must be studied in its various dimensions. Terrorism has political, social, religious, cultural, psychological and economic dimensions. It must also be studied in terms of its history. In fact, the very nature of warfare has changed with the advent of terrorism, more so after terrorists throughout the world were provided the backing of sophisticated weapons and the backing of technological tools. It is now a daunting task for the international community to deal with terrorism. We will do well not to panic. At the same time, we should not take any terror threat lightly.


People’s aspirations

I agree with the views that the Punjab Government needs to deliver results (editorial, Mirages and promises, July 25). It is difficult to understand why successive governments in Punjab have never tried to fulfil the essential requirement of good governance, and that is, to solve people’s genuine problems, rather than push them into the realms of dreams. Promises look bright and allure a person only for a while. The real challenge comes when the government has to fulfil these promises. It is not enough to win elections by announcing populist policies, and then forget them.

As the editorial quite rightly implies that for the sustainable development of the state, political parties should sit together and build a consensus. These parties have to rise above their own interests and work together to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Punjab.


Violence against women 

There is no need for a modern woman to consider herself weak (editorial, Domestic abuse: Stop sexual and physical violence against women, July 18). This, in other words, implies that there is no reason for her to become a victim of violence anywhere. Often, a woman after marriage feels that she has to make sacrifices for her children. While the intentions are laudable, it is not a good idea to tolerate all forms of ‘nonsense’, because in the long run it does not help much, and children are also adversely affected.

As a society, we have to change the way we look at our daughters. However, it is sad that women themselves do not do justice to their own kind. A boy is preferred to a girl. Though on many occasions, girls have proved themselves to be more successful than boys.




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