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February 7, 1978, Forty Years Ago: Zia meets Vajpayee

Front page of The Indian Express on February 7, 1977.

By: Editorial | Updated: February 7, 2018 12:16 am
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The chief martial law administrator, General Zia-ul-Haq said there was limitless scope for cooperation and friendship between India and Pakistan provided the Kashmir issue was solved and greater trust developed between the two countries. The general was talking to Indian media after his meeting with India’s foreign minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Earlier, during his meeting with Agha Shahi, adviser to the martial law administration on foreign affairs, Vajpayee said that talks had been held in a cordial atmosphere. He thanked the Pakistan government for having invited him. What was billed as a meeting with Indian journalists turned out to be a reception at the general’s colonial-style bungalow. And it was not just a reception either, because, seated in his drawing room with a Mona Lisa print above him like a supervising deity, the general disarmed everyone with his informality. He said Pakistan did not “come out by accident” but by mutual consensus on the Subcontinent.

Resolve Kashmir issue

The Pathan leader, Wali Khan, welcomed Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s three-day goodwill visit to Pakistan but added that India must make efforts to solve the Kashmir problem to speed up the process of normalisation of relations. “We stand for the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people,” the leader of the outlawed National Awami Party said.

Pendency rising

The arrears of cases in law courts are going up by 10 per cent every year despite the number of judges and their working days having been increased. More than 1.25 lakh cases were pending in high courts and an equal number in sessions courts at the end of 1977. The pendency in magisterial courts stood at 45 lakh, of which three lakh had not even been put up for want of police investigation.

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