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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Indo-Israeli plot against Pak-Iranian ties

By Sajjad Shaukat

Although the whole of Islamic world is target of Indo-Israeli plot, yet the same has intensified in case of Pakistan and Iran. It is because of the fact that Pakistan is a declared atomic country, while Iran is determined to continue its nuclear programme. In this regard, US-led some western countries have also been supporting the Indo-Israeli nexus against Islamabad and Tehran overtly or covertly.

However, we cannot blame especially India and Israel including US regarding the conspiracy against Pakistan and Iran without some concrete evidence. In this context, in his interview, published in the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008, Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer explained regarding India’s defence arrangements with Israel by disclosing, “We do have a defence relationship with India, which is no secret” and “with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret.” On being asked whether he foresaw joint exercises, Sofer replied, “Certain issues need to remain under wraps for whatever reason.”

Indo-Israeli plot remained under wraps till 2003, when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited India to officially reveal it. In this respect, Indian ‘The Tribune’ wrote on September 10, 2003, “India and Israel took giant leaps forward in bolstering the existing strategic ties and forging new ones” and Tel Aviv has “agreed to share its expertise with India in various fields as anti-fidayeen operations, surveillance satellites, intelligence sharing and space exploration.” Next day, ‘Indian Express’, disclosed, “From anti-missile systems to hi-tech radars, from sky drones to night-vision equipment, Indo-Israeli defense cooperation has known no bounds in recent times”.

As regards the American tactical backing to Indo-Israeli relationship, on September 5, 2003, American Wall Street Journal pointed out, “The U.S. finally gave its approval to Israel’s delivery of Phalcon Airborne Warning & Controlling Systems (AWACS) to India”�this “sale might affect the conventional weapons balance” in the region.

Now, the matter is not confined to purchasing of military equipments only, Indo-Israeli overt and covert links are part of a dangerous strategic game. In this connection, the then Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu had already stated, “Our ties with India don’t have any limitations�as long as India and Israel are friendly, it is a strategic gain.” But in the aftermath of 9/11, as to how this strategic gain is being obtained can be judged from the latest developments. On October 18, 2009, a deadliest suicide attack killed dozens of officers including the deputy commander for the Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Nour Ali Shoushtari and the provincial commander, Brigadier Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh in the Sistan-Baluchistan. Jundullah (God’s soldiers), a Sunni militant group which is pro-active against the Iranians, claimed responsibility for the incident.

The Revolutionary Guard released a statement after the attack, revealing that there was “no doubt that this violent and inhumane act was part of the strategy of foreigners and enemies of the regime.” Afterwards, Iran directly accused US and Britain for their alleged patronage and funding of such type of terrorist attacks for creating instability within Iran. Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani blamed the US, saying, “We consider the recent terrorist attack to be the result of the US action. This is the sign of America’s animosity against our country.”

Tehran has also lodged a strong protest with Islamabad over the failure of its law enforcement agencies to dismantle the Jundullah network in its part of Balochistan, while remarking that plan was prepared in Pakistan. Some reports suggest that in confusion, even some Iranian leaders expressed apprehension on some of Pakistan’s officials in cooperation with the Jundulluh regarding this latest suicide attack. This is what the US, India and Israeli wanted.

While condemning the terrorist attack, President Asif Ali Zardari assured President Ahmadinejad that Government of Pakistan would provide all out assistance in arresting all those responsible for the attack, if they are found on Pakistani soil. Afterwards, Islamabad ensured a visiting Iranian delegation for an appropriate investigation in relation to the mayhem. Nevertheless, misunderstanding against Islamabad and Tehran was eliminated.

While taking cognisance of the Indo-Israeli plot against Islamabad and Iran, on October 20, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the suicide attack in Iran’s Sistan was a conspiracy against brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iran. He further added, “It is obvious that the same forces that are working in Pakistani Balochistan are also working in Iranian Sistan.” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Abdul Basit also pointed out, “There are forces which are out to spoil our relations with Iran. But our ties are strong enough to counter these machinations.”

Nonetheless, it is good sign that besides Pakistan, Iranian rulers have also understood that it is Indo-Israeli conspiracy to sabotage Pak-Iranian ties, and is part of their secret strategic game against the Islamic countries. In this respect, on October 26, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei indicated, “The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at creating a division between the Shias and Sunnis… those who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents.”

In fact, America, India and Israel have been backing the Baloch separatists of Pakistan through their secret agencies CIA, RAW and Mossad respectively as witnessed by a perennial wave of subversive acts such as destruction of gas pipelines, attacks on the government buildings and murder of political leaders. They are covertly supporting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch nationalist leaders who have been fighting for secession of the province. It could be gauged from the fact that when six coal-mine workers were found dead on April 11, 2009, BLA and other separatist groups claimed responsibility.

As regards Jundullah, in past few years, the group has conducted multiple terrorist activities like kidnapping and killing of a number Iranian nationals including suicide attacks in Pakistan’s side of Balochistan and that of the Iran. Its agents are also behind sectarian violence.

According to some reliable sources, Jundullah is a small group which does not have potential to inflict more than small attacks on security forces in Pakistan and Iran. Like BLA, this militant group is also supported by RAW and Mossad with the technical help of CIA. Now, both BLA and Jundullah have links with each other. And their militants are getting arms and ammunition from Afghanistan where US-led India and Israel have established their secret network not only to create lawlessness in Pakistan and Iran, but also to sabotage good relationship of these countries. Indian consulates, located in Afghanistan and its mission in Zahidan are playing a key role in this conspiracy. Notably, Afghanistan shares a common border with Pakistan and Iran, so it has become easy for these foreign elements to achieve their sinister anti-Pak-Iranian aims.

It is notable that Jewish-Hindu lobbies are collectively working in America and other European countries to manipulate the double standards of the west in relation to terrorism and human rights vis-�-vis Pakistan and Iran. They also accuse Tehran and Islamabad of sponsoring cross-border terrorism in the related regions of South Asia and the Middle East. Both India and Israel consider Pakistan and Iran as their enemies due to Islambad’s nuclear assets and Tehran’s prospective nuclear programme which are also opposed by the US. In this regard, when on September 28, this year, Iran test-fired Shahab 3, a surface-to-surface missile with a range of up to 2,000 km, Israel openly and India clandestinely took it as a greater threat to their collective interests. Although, Iran denied link between the missile firing and the nuclear activities, but Washington speculated that besides Israel, the regional target which Iran intended to attack was India where America and Israel are investing and increasing their presence. However, these similarities of interest have brought Israel and India to follow a common secret diplomacy with the help of Washington, targeting particularly Pakistan and Iran.

It is mentionable that last year’s US-India nuclear deal was part of American desire to make India a major power to counterbalance the rising influence of China in Asia and control Iran. In this context, on May 22 this year, Islamabad and Tehran signed the gas pipeline project without waiting for New Delhi’s participation because the latter was tilted towards Washington, using delaying tactics in this connection.

Moreover, it is owing to the ideal geo-strategic location of Balochistan with Gwadar seaport which could prove to be Pakistan’s key junction, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia�and further strengthening Pak-Iranian strategic position that America has also become a part of Indo-Israeli plot in creating instability in Pakistan and Iran so as to complete the hidden agenda.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations. Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com 

Union home minister P. Chidambaram in Darul Uloom Deoband

The Darul Uloom seminary at Deoband continues to have a mesmeric hold on the secular Indian politician. Last week, Union home minister P. Chidambaram was the latest in the long list of political worthies who have found it worth their while to travel to the dusty little town in western Uttar Pradesh, to deliver a meaningful discourse apparently intended to reach Indian Muslims. Chidambaram is not the first modern/secular Indian politician to address Muslims through clerics. It is one of the great tragedies of the secular experiment in India that the clerical class and their institutions are considered representative of one of the largest Muslim populations. In the process, we bestow legitimacy on the most conservative elements and are actually complicit in increasing the clerical grip on the community.
Chidambaram may well be pondering whether his visit was ill-conceived (there had been attempts to persuade Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh to attend). After all, his presence was noted by the media, but the story was overshadowed by the Jamait Ulema-e-Hind (that controls the largest network of Deoband madrasas) upholding the 2006 fatwa of the seminary opposing the recitation of Vande Mataram.
Deoband is free to oppose anything they want. I consider the head of the Jamait, Maulana Mahmood Madani, a friend who is always helpful with information and very astute in his political assessments of trends in the Muslim community. But were I ever to live by the fatwas of Deoband, I would be in purdah and spend considerable time negotiating complexities of pure/impure and haraam/halaal. Certainly not a life for a liberal agnostic who loves the old rendition of Vande Mataram by V.D. Paluskar and is quite taken with the A.R. Rahman version too.
The problem is not in Deoband’s religious interpretations and fatwas. The problem lies in the political class upholding it as the symbol of Muslims who must be cultivated, reassured and, indeed, appeased. The Partition of 1947 should have taught us the dangers of making any one individual or group the sole spokesman of Indian Muslims. Deoband always opposed the Partition and the two-nation theory. But in the modern world, the deeply conservative views the seminary propagates also serve to keep followers of their schools and madrasas in a heightened state of religiosity that then separates them even from fellow Muslims.
Pakistan literally translates into Land of the Pure and we have all seen what has happened to the only Muslim nation actually created in the name of religion. But secular India has hardly dealt with the Muslim minority in an enlightened manner. Instead of helping the community integrate and modernise, the political class has made deals with the clerics. Years of reporting on institutions set up for the apparent welfare and protection of the community have convinced me that the nexus between clerics, politicians and wheeler-dealers has created a small class of “sarkari Musalmans” who are now stakeholders in Muslim backwardness.
Consider the state of the most well known institutions associated with the community. First, the Muslim Personal Law Board, made up of a collection of clerics from various schools of Islam (but dominated by Deobandis) who bury their head in the sand and resist any attempt to even rationalise personal law. They have actually served to ensure that in matters of divorce, maintenance and inheritance, the community is governed by laws and traditions that some Arab countries have rejected. Then there are wakf boards in every state that are meant to develop resources for the community but have simply sold off lands for a song and a fat bribe. There are also minority commissions and Haj committees, all manned by the same type of people, some of whom certainly cut  underhand deals under the garb of Islam.
No mainstream politician would try to reach out to Hindus by simply making speeches from a religious math or seeking the blessings of saints and godmen (though they may also do that). But it is a combination of ignorance and deep cynicism that is actually behind the legitimacy India’s secular politicians have bestowed on the Muslim clergy. The government itself is now paying the price for this. An attempt to create a central madrasa board was  opposed by many Muslim MPs last month. Leading the charge is Maulana Badruddin Ajmal of the AUDF in Assam (also linked to the Deoband school) who has stated clearly that religious madrasas “don’t need any interference in their syllabus or help of the government. The government should focus on madrasas that need their grants.”
Clearly, it’s clerics on top. The politicians, always so nervous about losing Muslim votes, are complicit in this process that only serves to reinforce the stereotype of Muslims as a community of unenlightened mullahs and fanatics.

Shivsena protest against the Fatwa issued by Jamait-e-Ulema

To protest against the Fatwa issued by Jamait-e-Ulema Hind against Vande Mataram Shiv Sena had organized a rally across the city to sing Vande Matarm at various chowks keeping traffic standstill for some time. Speaking to Neelam Gore.
Shiv Sena leaders across the city strongly opposed the Fatwa issued by Jamait-e-Ulema Hind against Vande Mataram by demonstrating

Hard-line ideology cannot succeed in a secular India

Criticizing the Muslims against singing India’s national song ‘Vande Mataram’ (Mother, I bow to thee), Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was quoted as saying that those who oppose the song should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh. He said: “If you don’t want to salute the motherland, then whom do you salute? What is the shame in saluting Bharatmata? There is no place for such traitors in India.”
This harsh statement from an extremist politician fuelled a political row in the country. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called Muslims who are against the recital of ‘Vande Mataram’ as “anti-nationals”. Shiv Sena suggested that the tongues of those opposed to the national song should be chopped off while the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) staged a sit-in and threatened a bigger agitation.
Those who think it is logical to call the citizens anti-nationals and traitors on refusing to recite the national song (which is not even the national anthem), they should certainly define the criteria of patriotism. And it should be clearly and justly defined as to how come those who choose not to recite India’s national song are “unpatriotic”, and hence, should leave the country.
The preamble of the Indian constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. Hence, the Indian Constitution has provided space for each and every community to bond to its religious beliefs. A recognized concept of secularism says that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs in a secular country. Any community has the right to support its faith, and to impose upon them any type of worship contrary to their belief is against secularism and freedom of faith.
In this sensitive issue of accepting or rejecting a national song, with which there are also religious sentiments attached for some people, the flames of verbal abuses will only generate the fire of rage.
Certainly, it was a dead issue and the song had been made more acceptable by adopting only its first two stanzas, which do not conflict with religious principles. However, it is against the nature of democracy for leaders to criticize those who peacefully express their opinion, especially, when the song has been historically controversial.
Indeed, the first two stanzas of the song began with an evocation of the beauty of the motherland; but it was likened to the Hindu goddess in the later stanzas. In that case, to question the loyalty of Indian Muslims on the ground that they rejected the original concept of song to worship the motherland is agitating. Respecting the religious sentiments of each and every community is the binding force of a secular society. These typical matters of religious sentiments cannot be solved by enforcement and threatens a democratic system. They should be left discretionary as a middle ground.
I am not debating if the recital of ‘Vande Mataram’ is Islamic or un-Islamic, but am talking about extremism in India from a neutral point of view.
By giving an aggressive statement to throw out to Pakistan all those who disapprove Vande Mataram, a hard-line ideology is expressed once more that says only Hindus should reside within India and the minorities should either come into the Hindu fold or be eliminated.
However, the Hindu extremist ideology is rejected by the majority of Indians. It was evident in the two successive, embarrassing and shocking defeats of the BJP in the 2004 and 2009 general elections, as well as the recent three state assembly elections, after which the hopes of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and other minorities in the country abounded.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during his swearing in ceremony in May 2004 that the mandate for the Congress-led UPA was for change and “strengthening the secular foundation of our republic.” It is the responsibility of the government to work honestly and wisely to protect all minorities, particularly when the threat of more new dangerous Hindu extremist groups has emerged in India. The Times of India daily quoted V.N. Deshmukh, former joint director of India’s Intelligence Bureau, as saying on Oct. 21 that: “The hard-liners are now getting into more extreme activities. Most RSS cadres were mobilized with an ideology that called for elimination of minorities, mainly Muslims and Christians.”
BJP should not continue to be vindictive towards the minorities by associating with the extremist groups. The Hindu extremist ideology is losing significance in Indian politics. BJP should distance itself from the hard-line ideology by turning to moderation. It should concentrate on the outlook of those majorities of the allies in the National Democratic Alliance who are not Hindu nationalists. The party needs a changed structure by departing a section within which wants to create a Hindu nation by violent means. It should include in the party Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsees and other minorities of the country and should give attention to that section of the party which believes in acquiring state power by participating in a parliamentary democracy. The new intelligent generation of Indians values the freedom of an individual and has enough sense to use their vote in a right place to be part of a modern world.
The RSS is the patron organization of all Hindu nationalist groups. If it thinks it can win the polls by its fundamental ideology, then it should enter the democratic process instead of using the BJP for its ambitions.
The RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Abhinav Bharat, Shiv Sena and other fundamentalist organizations are as detested in India as Al-Qaeda is in the world. The dream of the peaceful world cannot come true by allowing the existence of groups like the RSS or Al-Qaeda, which spread hate and terror and violate the values of Human Rights and liberty. Muslims of the world have proved themselves by rejecting Al-Qaeda’s ideology. The time has now come for Hindus to dissociate themselves from this ideology, so that extremists can be isolated. The peace loving and matured citizens of the world have given a thumbs-down to extremism. – SG

Vande Matram In Deoband

Controversies do not take much time to take birth. If the place of birth is India, and the source of controversy is religion, then the speed gets much better. One of the largest Sunni organizations in South Asia is Jamiate Ulema-e- Hind. It commands a wide following across the length and breadth of India. On 3rd November in the previous week, the Islamic organization convened the 30th general session at Deoband, 150 kilometers away from the capital of the country. One significant dimension of the annual session was the constructive initiative on the part of the Darul Uloom Deoband and Jamiate Ulama-e-Hind. The organizers were making a good futuristic point. They had invited some popular personalities from contemporary India like Baba Ramdev and Swami Agnivesh; and also the Union Home Minister and Mr Sachin Pilot. Not only were they requested to share the dais with the popular religious figures from Indian Muslims but, more importantly, were given sufficient time address the congregation. The Jamiat along with the constituents from the Darul Uloom-one of the oldest Islamic seminaries in India-passed more than twenty resolutions. The resolutions which warmed the hearts of the union minister and other representatives of the majority community concerned with “terrorism”. The resolution condemned terrorism and wanted everyone who is resorting to violence including the naxals, to come round to the exercise of the peaceful means. For which, the resolution adds, the Jamiat and the Darul Uloom would help them and also plead their case strongly before the people against whom they are bearing deep resentment. The union minister showered profuse praise and admiration on the Muslim organization for reiterating her commitment to the interest of the nation, and also for making possible a common platform for Hindus and the Muslims. The Minister went back to his routine business, and then, yes, the monster raised her head; the controversy began.

Not everyone saw the bridge which was sought to be constructed by the Jamiat and the Uloom between the Hindus and the Muslims. Some only saw the pillars and the thin air in between. They took out the communal microscopes from their bags and began to scan the resolutions passed in the convention. Among others the convention passed a resolution against the singing of the National Anthem. The reason given was that some of the verses of the song are not in harmony with the basic tenet of Islam i.e., worshipping only one God. This one was enough for the communally tainted eyes to paint the entire convention and the conveners as anti national. They also railed against the Home Minister. He did not take much time to issue statements in self defense. He informed the adversaries that he was not present at the time the said resolution was passed. The resolution, Sachin Pilot, attack, defense all combined together very soon to reach the headlines of the newspapers and the television studios. No doubt the controversy died down in a matter of days. The reason for that is not that the intensity of the nature of the controversy was less or marginal; actually the current disarray and disorder in the saffron camp following repeated self punches saved the country a lot of space, time and energy. Otherwise everything was ready for a real showdown between the parties involved in the row over the Vande Matram.

There are a couple of things worth noting. Let me begin with the first. Except for a few Muslim individuals and organizations, the Vande Matram controversy remains unsettled. The Darul Uloom has already placed on record a fatwa against the singing of the vande Matram. And the reason is not too far away. Just a cursory glance at the widely accepted translation of the song from Bengali to English by Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that the image of mother goddess, and the bowing before her goes against the seminal grain of Islam; where even bowing before one’s own mother or even the Prophet is strictly forbidden. At the time of independence there was a debate whether the song should be made the National Anthem .The objections raised were on many counts, not least of which is the presence of the idolatrous depiction of the mother country. The other centered round the history of the composition of the song. The song was sung by militant sadhus in Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Anand Math; a starkly anti Muslim novel. Though the historical section was partially forgotten, the point of contention at the time of its adoption revolved around some of the offensive verses. Subsequently some of the verses were deleted and the rest in her existing form was retained as the National Anthem. Despite that the objections against its rendition by the Muslims did not go away completely. Yes, A R Rehman a Muslim, is one of the finest singers of the song and Hasrat Mohani, Ashfaqullah and others sang the song with deep and profound  emotion. However all this did not satisfy the major Muslim organizations. Hence the Fatwa and the recent resolution to reaffirm the attachment to the original religious decree. The General Secretary of Jamiate Ulama �e- Hind, Mehmood Madani, believes that the singing of the Vande Matram is not compulsory. Then why are the fatwa and the resolution seen as unconstitutional. How come, due to this, the Muslims turn anti nationals overnight?

As it is not many seem ready to understand the nuances of the problem. Probably no one can; because the song forces a rethink or revaluation of the difference between love and worship. Can a line be drawn between their conceptual base and the material manifestation in different actions? The Muslims, and they say it time and again, love the land of their birth and of their ancestors but refuse to put themselves in the category of the worshippers. The song Vande Matram imposes an imagery of worship upon them. Some Hindus want Muslims to be put to the test of the song. If they participate in the rendition, leave aside the anxiety over love and worship, they have passed the test of loyalty to the nation; if they debate and hesitate their eligibility is suspect and if a rejection comes in the direction of the Anthem, they had better pack their things and go, well, where exactly?

Frankly a preternatural communalist does not heed reason. He, whether a Muslim  or a Hindu, feeds on hate and prejudice. He needs an excuse to substantiate the inner malice. Of all the resolutions passed by the congregation the focus was exclusively zeroed in on  Vande Matram. As if nothing else was done during the conventions. The convention placed a broad focus on so many issues and passed other resolutions. Like Terrorism; a word which was almost become synonymous with the Muslim community, and is pestering India on many fronts. That does not strike a chord with them. The resolution against terrorism in her various forms, without excluding naxalism , is not in line with their internal aims. For a moment even if this and all the other ‘positive’ resolutions are cast away, the very endeavor to bring together members of the two communities on a common dais should have been enough gladden the hearts. That did not take place; swords were out on mere one resolution out of more than twenty. Once again the community members had to come out with clarifications and pleas for a discussion and a free debate on the matter. The truth is that the albatross of “antinationalism” refuses to cease nibbling on their patriotic chests. Would it ever come off them?

Author is Assistant Professor at Kashmir University. Email: javjnu@gmail.com

Pakistan Fashion Week kicks off defying Taliban

Pakistan is hosting its first ever fashion week in the city of Karachi against a backdrop of heavy security.
Around 30 Pakistani designers are taking part in the event which ends on Saturday.
The shows are taking place in the luxury Marriott hotel. Last year, the hotel's branch in capital Islamabad was devastated by a massive truck bomb.
The organisers say they hope to show a different side of Pakistan than the usual images of suicide bombings.
The event had been postponed after threats to security which kept foreign models and designers away, but the fashion world in Pakistan was determined to stage its shows.
"After many, many years, fashion in Pakistan is being taken seriously," said leading Pakistani designer, Rizwan Beyg, who has designed for international jet-setters, including the late Princess Diana

Midriffs and cleavage
While women in much of Muslim, conservative Pakistan wear headscarves and baggy shalwar-kameez (pyjama and long tunic), in the financial hub of Karachi, jeans and T-shirts are more likely to be seen.
On the fashion week catwalks, bare midriffs and cleavage are also on show just two hours' flight time from the militant hubs in the country's troubled north-west.
"There are a lot of misconceptions about Pakistan," he said. "A dark picture of Pakistan is being painted globally, and we wanted to show that there's a lot of creativity and artistry that survives in the face of all opposition."
The event comes as the army continues its offensive against Taliban militants in the tribal region of South Waziristan, and a wave of suicide bombings and attacks that have killed more than 300 people over the past month.

Operation in Malakand, Waziristan is no solution

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani conceded during a debate in the National Assembly on Saturday that the military operation in Malakand or South Waziristan was no lasting solution and the government was taking measures to bring stability to the region.
However, the prime minister refrained from responding to a lawmaker’s criticism of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, whom legislators blamed for the nation’s deepening sense of insecurity.
Mr Gilani highlighted several steps his government had taken to normalise the situation in Malakand, saying that parliamentary leaders of all parties had been taken into confidence before launching the military operation in South Waziristan. ‘The nation is also united on combating terrorism to the finish.’ The prime minister said the government had taken good care of Malakand IDPs and was also providing assistance to the people who fled South Waziristan.
A sum of Rs8.5 billion had been set aside for Waziristan IDPs and every displaced family was being given Rs5,000. An amount of Rs 25,000 would be provided to each family on return home, he added.
The prime minister said the government had earmarked Rs50 billion in the current budget for rehabilitation of the Malakand IDPs and released Rs6 billion of the proposed Rs25 billion package for upgradation of security in the region.
Since Monday will be observed as a holiday on account of Allama Iqbal Day, the lower house was summoned on Saturday, a weekly dayoff.
The house wore a deserted look until the prime minister entered the house. Earlier, lawmakers delivered their speeches in the absence of ministers and officials of interior and foreign affairs ministries. No more than 25 lawmakers were present and the dismal attendance continued till the end of the proceedings.
Presiding officer Riaz Pirzada reminded the government twice during the debate about the absence of interior and foreign ministry officials who should have been there to take notes of important speeches.
Zafar Bhittani, a lawmaker from the tribal areas, urged the prime minister to pick any one of the 342 legislators in the assembly for the job of interior minister instead of ‘banking on a person who preferred to fly to Abu Dhabi for talks with the MQM’.
He alleged that the ‘notorious American organisation’ Blackwater was playing havoc with law and order in the country.
Mr Bhittani said the interior minister had not said a ‘single truth’ about the law and order.
Palwasha Behram Khan, of the PML-Q, said Pakistan should take a leading role in any future US policy for the region.
Humayun Saifullah Khan urged the government to avoid relating the war against terrorism to what he called ongoing ‘skirmishes’ because it was affecting the country’s image.
Sheikh Waqas Akram, of the PML-Q, said the government must engage militants in talks alongside the military campaign. He said the US had also expressed its willingness to enter into talks with the Taliban after its generals admitted that they were losing the war in Afghanistan.
He said the situation had become so grave that no multinational company was ready to invest in Pakistan. The government was doing nothing to establish its writ in southern Punjab where the Taliban were roaming around freely, the MNA alleged.
PAKISTAN MINT: Lawmakers expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of the building of Pakistan Mint, the oldest coin press, in Lahore.
Through a call-attention notice, Shakeel Khanam Rasheed, Begum Ishrat Ashraf, Naseer Bhutta and Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho called for setting up a house committee to examine
the situation.
Planning and Development Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin said the government was aware of the situation and had allocated Rs10 million for upgradation of the building.