New Age Islam
Thu Apr 18 2024, 06:50 AM

Islam and Politics ( 20 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

India probing an Armyman: Is this possible in Pakistan?

By Kamran Shafi


THERE has been much in the Indian press about the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express attacks in which 141 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.


Among the arrested accused are Hindu so-called priests and a serving lieutenant colonel of the Indian Army.


The leader of the conspiracy, Dayanand Pandey alias Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth Maharaj, son of a recently retired police sub-inspector and himself a sacked non-commissioned officer in the Indian Air Force, is also accused of having bought himself his holy title.


The Indian press is full of the case. Friday's edition of the Times of India, for example, devoting two-and-a-half pages to the coverage of the various aspects of the case, one of the headlines telling its readers: The noose tightens: Saffron brigade, govt in maha tussle.


There are details of the movements of Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit and of how his laptop, which is "believed to have crucial information" and which went missing when he was arrested on October 29, has "been traced" by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team which is investigating the affair. Indeed, there are indications already that the RDX explosive used was stolen by the colonel/his helpers from the stores of an Indian Army artillery regiment. It is to be immediately noted that serving Lt. Col. Purohit is in civilian custody; and is being investigated by a civilian agency.


It is to be noted too that whilst the BJP has criticised the government for "framing Hindu leaders" and its president, Rajnath Singh, has accused the Congress of "communalising" terrorism to win elections, newspapers have pointed out that he has brushed aside allegations "that he could be guilty of the same by battling for persons held for terrorist attacks".


And so the Indian state goes on, trying to administer this vast and diverse country with problems that seem so massive: a huge population, now bordering on 1.2 billion people; poverty like we Pakistanis could not even begin to imagine; an infrastructure that needs immediate repair and refurbishment. I mean how do you keep an infrastructure going that has the weight of 1.2 billion souls upon it?


Nor is this all; there is constant tumult in its democracy. Why, only two days ago the BJP was accused of selling tickets for the upcoming elections resulting in the immediate resignation of an MLA. Another MLA has committed suicide, the reason for which is not known at this time.


Yet, there is the rule of law and the Constitution; the judiciary is free, with many people hankering for the days when it was issuing suo motu writs right, left and centre until the Parliament passed laws to restrict its powers. As a quick aside: the point to note here is that it was the Parliament that acted against what it thought were excessive powers of the judiciary, the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army did not declare emergency and sack the judiciary.


On a serious note though, what if a serving Pakistan Army officer in cahoots with one of our Mullah Brigades - the exact opposite of the Indian Saffron Brigade - had been suspected/accused of terrorism? Would he have been handed over to, say, the FIA? And much, much before that would anyone have dared to accuse an officer of the Pakistan Army in the first place?


Would the investigators have been allowed to release to the press the mind-boggling news that the explosives used in blast were stolen from a regiment of the Pakistani Army? I suggest that it would never have happened in our country where the Army is even now a holier cow than any other in this world in which we live.


I write this sitting in the jharoka of the Tiger guest house in Udaipur, India, looking over the lake and the Lake Palace hotel and the Jag Mandir, both built in the lake. To my left is the City Palace of the maharajas of Udaipur, most of which is a hotel, a part of which still used by the royal family as its home.


Far in the distance is the high feature of Sajjan Garh with the Monsoon Palace, which is really a fort built right on top of it with steep escarpments on three sides, and high battlements making it virtually unassailable by an attacking force. Most forts in Rajputana are similarly built, including the famous Amber Fort in Jaipur. Little wonder that it took the Mughals years to subjugate the proud and fierce Rajputs, and only after forging marital bonds with the ruling princes.


A word about the Tiger. It is a haveli just off the lake and up a narrow street traversing which you could never imagine the tranquillity and great friendliness that awaits you inside its doors.


The management and staff do all they can to please, and there is virtually nothing they will not do to make your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible. They even sent out a boy on a motorcycle to look for peanuts which a member of our party cannot do without, and which were duly served to us before the evening wore out.


My friends and I are in Rajasthan to attend the wedding of a dear friend's son which was a momentous affair that none of us will easily forget. The hospitality and friendliness with which we were received was as it has been in all my visits to India, and many discussions took place about the plethora of problems that face both countries.


And now news about home. Why is it that whilst Asif Zardari went to New York to take part in the inter-faith meeting sponsored by the UN and hosted by the King of Saudi Arabia, he missed the dinner given by the UN Secretary General? Our newspapers tell us it was because he did not want to be seen meeting the Israeli President. Did he then miss the meeting/conference too because the Israeli must have been there too?


And, what fun! If the glib and loquacious Aamir Liaquat of the MQM was caught telling lies about his doctorate from an imaginary university, so has the PPP's Babar Awan. It is curious, is it not, that both of them are hosting religious programmes on two private TV channels? Whilst the MQM did not take cognisance of Aamir Liaquat's fraudulent degree it did throw him out of the Party for instigating anti-Ahmadi violence as the result of which at least three Ahmadis were cruelly murdered.


Will the PPP take note of "Dr" Babar Awan's little peccadillo and throw him out of the Party? Or, being the lawyer of note that he is, will the good "Dr" reconsider his position and resign his ministerial post as well as his senate seat. Likely not.


By arrangement with Dawn