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Hafiz Saeed’s release

The release of the chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and now founder of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the main accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack....


June 5, 2009 12:36:24 am

The release of the chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and now founder of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the main accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack,Hafiz Saeed,by the Lahore High Court has been reported with great astonishment and concern by Urdu newspapers. ‘Mumbai par hamla ki tehqiqat ke maamley mein Pakistan sanjeeda naheen’ (Pakistan not serious about inquiry into attack on Mumbai),is a headline of Kolkata and Delhi-based daily,Akhbare-e-Mashriq (June 3). ‘Pakistan ney sanjeedgi ka saboot naheen diya’ (Pakistan did show evidence of seriousness) says a headline of the lead story (highlighting statements of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister,S.M. Krishna) of Delhi-based Hamara Samaj. ‘Dahshatgardi ko Kashmir se jorna ghalat’ (linking terrorism with Kashmir is wrong) is a headline in Delhi-based Sahafat,reporting the External Affairs Minister’s statement. ‘Pakistani pharpharahat’ (Pakistan’s helpless clapping of wings) is the title of the editorial in Mumbai’s leading daily,Inquilab (June 3) which says: “If India concludes from the release of Hafiz Saeed that the Pakistani government did not present before the court the evidence against the accused in the 26/11 attack that should have been presented,it is not wrong in its conclusion”. The editorial has criticised the dubious role of Pakistan’s rulers in their professed fight against terror.

The new cabinet

Delhi-based daily Akhbar-e-Mashriq,in an editorial on May 29,writes: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted a representative and balanced team after great thought and consultation with the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi,that includes new blood in a large measure,along with loyalty and experience.” The paper adds: “The inclusion of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad from Jammu and Kashmir that has only four Lok Sabha seats is reflective of the fact that the government of India wants to give full attention to the state and make its people participants in the mainstream of the country.” But Delhi-based Hamara Samaj (May 29) has headlined its lead story,‘Congress ki taraqqi ka matlab Mussalmanon ki tanazzuli’ (meaning of promotion of Congress is Muslims’ demotion). Based on views of some eminent Muslim religious leaders and intellectuals,the paper’s report says: “Muslims have not been given representation in the government to match the intensity with which Muslims have embraced the Congress after a long time,despite the party having recognised the preference of Muslim voters for the Congress in its poll analysis. Compared to the previous government,the number of Dalit ministers has grown from seven to 10 while the number of Muslim ministers has gone down from six to five..” A columnist in Rashtriya Sahara (May 29) has expressed the view that even if it be granted that Muslims elected this time to Lok Sabha were not upto the mark for inclusion in the ministry,some members from the Rajya Sabha could have been chosen,or even some eminent persons presently not in Parliament could have been taken,as in the case of Vilasrao Deshmukh. Many other newspapers have also expressed their resentment at “low representation of Muslims” in the new

government.

Kishenganj’s columnist-MP

Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi (one of the two Congress MPs from Bihar) in his column in Rashtriya Sahara (May 26) has talked of the responsibility of Muslims for their declining representation in Parliament and government. He writes: “although Muslims acted wisely in the elections (daanishmandi se kaam liya) the fact is that the magnitude of the effort to divide the Muslim vote this time was greater than ever before.” He says: “Muslims have to introspect whether its better to make speeches from emotionally oriented platforms to divide Muslims moving with a central force,for whose creation and development our ancestors shed their blood.”

Beyond elections

Following the convincing victory of the Congress,the attention now is being focused on the tasks ahead. In an interview to Jamaat-e-Islami’s organ,biweekly Dawaat (May 28),the organisation’s Amir (chief) Maulana Jalaluddin Umri says: “We have to drive home to the Congress Party the fact that,undoubtedly,Muslims have supported it. But one should clearly understand that now onwards Muslims would not support it blindly. It would suffer if it is indifferent to their problems. We have seen that in UP Mulayam Singh was sure of getting Muslim votes. But Muslims did not support him because of his association with Kalyan Singh. To think that Muslims have returned to the Congress and can not go elsewhere,is not right.” The Jamaat chief has also expressed the view that “the policies of the United States would now be adopted at a fast pace in this country and the government would be under the influence of the U.S. and Israel without any hindrance.” A large number of papers have viewed the election result as defeat of “communal” and “opportunist” forces. Akhbar-e-Mashriq (May 22) writes about the post-election scenario: “We are very happy at the fact that the people have given a drubbing to the BJP and the Left parties for their misleading policies. At the same time we are not their enemy because for a democracy,the presence of an opposition is quite necessary to stop the ruling party from crossing its settled limits.”

Anguish at racism

Racist attacks on Indian students in Australia have been prominently reported. Taking a dig at the BJP,a regular columnist in Rashtriya Sahara (June 3) asks: “With what face is BJP opposing the racist hatred?” He has referred in this context to the party’s attitude to “the hateful politics of Varun Gandhi and Narendra Modi” and its “criminal silence at the racial discrimination by Shiv Sena and the MNS against north Indians in Maharashtra.”

Compiled by Seema Chishti

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