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Zardari’s visit

He has always been anxious for friendship and peace and there is no need for the people of Pakistan to be afraid of India

Written by Seema Chishti | Published: April 13, 2012 3:59 am

Zardari’s visit

The daily Inquilab,in a comment on April 10,writes: “There could not have been a very fruitful discussion during Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s India visit because it was not official,nor was there any agenda. Therefore,it would not be proper to hazard guesses or harbour doubts about the outcome of the visit…” But,it adds: “as far as our government or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is concerned,he has proved he has sentiments of cooperation and improvement of relations with Pakistan by playing host to President Zardari even though the controversy between the two countries on 26/11 has not died down. He has always been anxious for friendship and peace and there is no need for the people of Pakistan to be afraid of India.”

Comparing the visits of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to Agra and Zardari’s Delhi trip,Rashtriya Sahara on April 9 writes: “The talks between Pervez Mushrraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Agra were held in an atmosphere where both the leaders were at the pinnacle of their power. There was no one to challenge Musharraf in Pakistan and Vajpayee was in total control over the Indian situation. But both the leaders who met at Delhi have to take very measured and cautious steps. Therefore,neither of two would have liked to come out of the talks with a stigma of failure as they knew that failure would result in severe criticism of both the leaders.”

The Delhi-based Hamara Samaj,in its April 11 editorial questions who the real force behind terrorism is and how it can be finished,and answers: “After a lot thinking,one concludes that the real controllers of global terrorism are the US and Israel.” The paper elaborates why it is important to tackle Israel first and how it is “futile to expect action by Pakistan against its terror camps. These camps have been established by the US.”

Haj subsidy

THE Haj subsidy and its removal has provoked much comment. Rashtriya Sahara,in its April 4 editorial writes: “It is a myth that Haj pilgrims are given subsidy (by the Central government). It is not only a lie,but a serious insinuation against Muslims. The basis of this myth is that part of the airfare of the hajis paid to Air India is shared by the government… Hajis selected by a lot cannot travel by any airline except Air India. As Haj approaches,Air India increases its fare steeply. Then,the government,demonstrating great ‘generosity and friendliness with the Muslims’ announces this increase would be paid by the Indian exchequer as a ‘facility’ for the hajis… If the government is really sympathetic to Muslims,particularly to the hajis,why does it not once announce that the hajis selected by a lot can travel on an airline of their choice… Ask any airline and you will know the increase in the Air India fare at the time of Haj is illegitimate.”

The daily Sahafat writes: “The game will be understood by the fact that the people (working in Saudi Arabia) who come to India,get a return ticket for Rs 16,000. Then why this label of favouritism with the hajis despite their playing Rs 25,000-30,000 for the same journey… The Central Haj Committee also does not provide for concession on the fare it takes from the hajis three months before the journey.” Regarding allegations of “favouritism” and “appeasement” to Muslims by sections like the BJP,the paper writes: “Even when the BJP was at the Centre,the Haj subsidy was retained. Therefore,if it is now alleged by the party that the Congress wants to appease Muslims,it is wrong and politically motivated.” Following the statement of the foreign minister S.M. Krishna regarding the proposal to withdraw the subsidy,sections of Muslim leaders and organisations are pleading with the government to instead provide better facilities to the hajis. Such appeals are being published by newspapers.

Govt vs Army

COMMENTING on the situation following The Indian Express report on irregular troop movement,Munsif (April 5) writes: “Even though the report is being contradicted and is being described as absolutely false,yet this sensitive issue cannot be ignored. This report has created a fear in the minds of the people… It is the responsibility of the government to not confine itself to only issuing statements and contradictions,and take practical steps to have better coordination and balance with the army.”

Rashtriya Sahara’s editorial on April 5 says: “This report is not merely extremely surprising (bahot chaunkaane waali) but also adds to existing anxieties… It is a curious coincidence that the army units were called (to Delhi) on the day the army chief,Gen V.K. Singh,was to appear before the Supreme Court for his age controversy. If this coincidence has given rise to whispers amongst people,it is not surprising. (But) the Indian people have full faith in their army. They are also confident that the Indian army,unlike armed forces in some countries the neighbourhood,does not have political ambitions.”

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