The Lok Sabha rejected a no-confidence motion against the government after a stormy 10-hour debate which was marked by a lot of acrimony and bitter personal and political exchanges between the Opposition and the treasury benches. The motion was defeated by 327 votes to 110. The house adjourned sine die The marathon debate saw the opposition lash out at Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her government for “devaluing” democracy and its institutions while faring poorly on the economic front. Mrs Gandhi, in a devastating 40-minute intervention, denounced the Opposition as an irresponsible motley crowd which ought to first pass a motion of no-confidence against itself.
Agreement on PLO
Lebanese Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan said a final agreement on evacuating the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) from Israeli-surrounded West Beirut would be ready for announcement soon. “We are in the process of putting the final touches on the agreement”, he said after a one-hour meeting with US envoy Philip Habib. Wazzan and his aides were expected to meet leaders of the PLO on August 18.
No war pact
Pakistan said the Indian draft of a treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation was aimed at achieving too much too soon. In “one great leap forward” as against Islamabad’s own “step-by-step” approach. The draft, presented at the recent meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two countries, also contains “certain elements” which may provoke controversy and jeopardise what is immediately attainable. Pakistan has not rejected the treaty but expects the next meeting of foreign secretaries in New Delhi to focus on Pakistan’s proposal for a no-war pact.