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Pak's overt support to terror has diminished: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has not delivered on its promise to bring the 26/11 perpetrators to justice, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said, adding that Islamabad's overt support to state and non-state actors involved in cross-border terror has diminished.

In an interview to Doordarshan, Chidambaram said Pakistani ministers had promised him that seven people whose names had been handed over in connection with the 26/11 attack would be arrested and their voice samples delivered.

"They have not delivered on the promise. The trial has not started. The judge has been changed four or, may be, five times. Now what do I conclude, that Pakistan is not serious about bringing to justice real perpetrators behind 26/11," Chidambaram said.

"I think they have realised that any overt support to state actors or non-state actors, if that is discovered, they will pay a heavy price. So, I think overt support has certainly diminished. Covert support, I really can't make an assessment," Chidambaram said.

On reports about facilities provided to Hafiz Sayeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi— accused in the 26/11 conspiracy—Chidambaram said Pakistan's attitude was there for all to see and diminishes its credibility.

"If this one guy (Lakhvi) is treated with such kindness, generosity, what does say about the credibility of Pakisan's justice system? It is not only I (who) read about Lakhvi having access to cell phones, the whole world is reading it...I think they should introspect themselves."

Chidambaram denied there were different voices in the government on Pakistan. He said on issues like liberalisation of the visa regime, exchange of prisoners and fishermen detained on both sides and cross-border trade, India could move the extra mile.

"But on terror-related issues I don't think we can do anything but remain firm and make sure that Pakistan delivers."

While supporting the dialogue process, Chidambaram ruled out any immediate possibility of a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

Chidambaram said the country has to be vigilant about militants in Arunachal Pradesh and those that have sanctuary in China.

"We have to be vigilant about militant groups operating out of Arunachal. We also know that a number of leaders and militant groups have sanctuaries in China. We know there is an armed bazaar on the border of Myanmar and China and Chinese weapons are smuggled through Myanmar into India," he said.

On Maoist violence, the minister said more people were killed by the ultra leftwing rebels than in attacks by terrorists. He said 30 people, including three securitymen and 27 civilians, were killed in attacks by Maoists in November.

He said Maoists killed civilians by "unfairly and unjustly", labelling them as police informers. "Who gave Communist Party of India-Maoists the right to kill? So, I think people must understand that CPI-Maoist is driven by an ideology that believes in an overthrow of the democratic parliament system," Chidambaram said.

He said Maoists as a group were more "anti-poor than the worst capitalists".

Asked if he found his present assignment stressful, Chidambaram said he did not feel stressed but it required him to be vigilant all the time.

"No, I am not stressed internally. But it is a 24X7 job. I do not switch off my mobile. It's a job in which you have to remain alert and vigilant 24x7. It is why, sometimes, I say half-seriously and half-jokingly that it's a job for a younger person," Chidambaram said. —IANSBack



Parliament remains paralysed for the 9th day

NEW DELHI: The Parliament stalemate over foreign equity in retail and other issues continued for the ninth day on Friday with the opposition and some members of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) vociferously seeking withdrawal of the key reform. Both houses were adjourned till Wednesday.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned minutes after members gathered in their houses in the morning. Presiding officers first cancelled the Question Hour to meet again at noon. They adjourned both the Houses for the day when MPs met again amid din.

Parliament will now resume on Wednesday with four days of extended weekend. The Houses were already scheduled not to run on Monday. Tuesday is a holiday for Muharram, the day of Muslim mourning.

On Friday, the trouble in the Lok Sabha erupted as soon as the MPs met for the day's sitting. Opposition and some members of the Trinamool Congress, a constituent of the ruling UPA, created uproar to press for their demand to revoke the Cabinet decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian retail market.

As soon as Speaker Meira Kumar took up the Question Hour, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) rose to protest the new reform decision.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Murli Manohar Joshi also joined him and tried to draw the Speaker's attention to the controversial decision.

Joshi had earlier in the week given a notice for an adjournment motion under a rule that entails voting.

The notice has not been rejected but the government is wary to accept it because if it loses the vote, it will have to withdraw the decision to allow 51 per cent foreign equity in multi-brand retailing and 100 per cent in single-brand format.

Pressing the Speaker to accept the notice, BJP and Left members raised slogans and demanded that the government should revoke the policy.

Trinamool Congress members also protested the move and some of them shouted slogans demanding "FDI waapas lo, waapas lo".

There were other issues that created uproar in the Lok Sabha. MPs from Kerala flashed placards demanding a new dam in their state. They urged the government to take steps to deal with the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.

In the Rajya Sabha, protests started as soon as Chairman Hamid Ansari called for the Question Hour.

The House resonated with slogans of "FDI waapas lo...waapas lo...East India Company waapas jao, waapas jao." 

Members from the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party and the AIADMK protested noisily, creating a bedlam in the House.

Ansari adjourned the house till noon. The pandemonium continued when the members resumed protests at noon, forcing Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan to adjourn the house till Wednesday.

Four days of break in Parliament sitting ahead have given the government enough time to chalk out the strategy for ending the current logjam.

The Parliament has not done any significant business in the first nine days of the crucial 21-day long winter session that was scheduled to discuss and pass key legislations, including the anti-graft Lokpal bill.

With nine days already wasted, the government has only 12 days of the session left to consider 31 scheduled bills. The session ends December 21. — IANSBack



Kayani gives free hand to troops in Pak

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday gave his troops "full liberty" to respond to any further cross-border attacks by NATO forces in Afghanistan in the wake of an air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, official sources said. The powerful army chief told commanders of units deployed along the western border with Afghanistan that they had "full liberty of action to respond (by) employing all capabilities" available at their disposal, the sources said.

Kayani was quoted by the sources as saying that there should be "no ambiguity in the rules of engagement for everyone down the chain of command" if they faced an attack by NATO forces.

Such an action would "require no clearance at any level" and the army would "provide resources as required on ground", he was quoted as saying.— PTI



Obama not to say sorry for NATO raids

Washington: The US on Thursday said it was in early stages of investigation into the cross-border NATO air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and was not apologising to Islamabad, as of now. The incident has thrown the already fragile US-Pak ties further in the doldrums and has prompted Pakistan to shut down the NATO supply routes in protest. "We need to find the results of this investigation. We have offered our condolences... I am not going to prejudge about that action we might take in the future," White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney said when specifically asked if the White House has decided that US President Barack Obama would not apologise for the incident, as was reported by The New York Times. Carney termed it as "utter nonsense" when asked if this decision of the Obama Administration was based on political considerations. — PTI




World on brink of another economic recession: UN

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has warned that the world is on the brink of another recession, projecting that global economic growth will slow down further in 2012 and even emerging powerhouses like India and China, which led the recovery last time, will get bogged down.

The UN 'World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012' report has cut the global growth forecast for next year to 2.6% from 4% in 2010.

It has called 2012 a "make-or-break" year for the global economy, which will face a "muddle-through" scenario and continue to grow at a slow pace.

"Following two years of anaemic and uneven recovery from the global financial crisis, the world economy is teetering on the brink of another major downturn," the UN report said, warning that "the risks for a double-dip recession have heightened".

The report said the failure of policymakers, especially those in Europe and the United States, to address the jobs crisis, prevent sovereign debt distress and escalation of financial sector fragility poses the most acute risk for the global economy in 2012-2013.

Growth in developing countries like India and China, which had stoked the engine of the world economy so far, will also slow down to 5.6% in 2012 from 7.5% in 2010.

"Developing countries are expected to be further affected by the economic woes in developed countries through trade and financial channels," the report said.

GDP growth in China and India is expected to "remain robust, but to decelerate", it said.

India's economy is expected to expand by between 7.7% and 7.9% in 2012-2013, down from 9.0% in 2010. In China, growth slowed from 10.4% in 2010 to 9.3% in 2011 and is projected to slow further to below 9% in 2012-2013.

Notably, the UN has revised its 2012 prediction downward for every major country.

It projected 1.3% growth for the US (down 0.7% from its last forecast), 1.5% for Japan (down 1.3%), 0.5% for the 27-nation European Union (down 0.8%) and 8.7% for China (down 0.2%).

A serious, renewed global downturn is looming because of persistent weaknesses in major developed economies on account of problems left unresolved in the aftermath of the recession of 2008-2009, it said.

"Most developed country governments have indiscriminately switched from fiscal stimulus to premature austerity measures. This has further weakened global aggregate demand, already nurtured by persistent high unemployment," it said.

Additionally, the economic woes in Europe and the US are exacerbating volatility in international financial and commodity markets and slowing growth in developing countries.

"All of these weaknesses are present and reinforce each other, but a further worsening of one of them could set off a vicious circle leading to severe financial turmoil and a renewed global recession for 2012-2013," the report said.

The report outlines several policy directions that could avoid a double-dip recession, including the optimal design of fiscal policies to stimulate more direct job creation and investment in infrastructure, energy efficiency and sustainable energy supply, stronger financial safety nets, better coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, as well as providing sufficient support to developing countries for addressing the fallout from the crisis. — PTI




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