The Candid Eye

June 12, 2009

Pakistan’s war against terrorism is a farce

Following the release of Hafeez Muhammed Sayeed, the founder of Jamat-Ud-Dawa,by the Pakistani high court,there have been apprehensions, over the internal stability of Pakistan,around the world,and more so in India.The Frankensteinian monster,now kills and terrorises people,all over the world,including  its creator.India,is perhaps the only country,which suffered/suffering from this terrorism for more than six decades.Pakistan,in spite of repeated dialogues,agreements with India or pressures from India or USA,doesn’t seem to behave in an agreed,predictable manner.B Raman has described this very clearly here.

Excerpts from Raman’s article starts

Some years ago, when General Pervez Musharraf [ Images ], the blue-eyed warrior against terrorism of the then United States President George W Bush [ Images ], was the President of Pakistan, its police had arrested an individual on the charge of belonging to the Al Qaeda [ Images ].
When he was produced before an anti-terrorism court, it asked the government lawyer to produce a copy of the notification under which Al Qaeda had been declared a terrorist organisation. After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had overlooked declaring Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation.
He promised that a notification would be issued shortly and requested that the arrested person continue to remain in custody till then. The court did not accept the plea. It ordered his release. It held that even if it was a fact that he belonged to the Al Qaeda, he had not committed an offence because Al Qaeda was not a terrorist organisation under Pakistani laws.
Some years later, in December 2008 to be precise, the Pakistani government placed Professor Hafeez Mohammad Saeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political front of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ], under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai [ Images ] terrorist strike of November 26. The action was taken following the decision of the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council to include the JuD and the LeT as associates of the Al Qaeda.
Saeed went to the Lahore [ Images ] high court to challenge his house arrest. The government lawyer told the court that the action of the UN Sanctions Committee obliged the government to act against him. When the court did not agree with that contention and asked the lawyer whether the government had any independent evidence of its own, the lawyer met the three judges privately and showed them, what he claimed, was independent evidence of the LeT’s links with Al Qaeda. The judges wanted to see a copy of the government notification under which Al Qaeda was declared a terrorist organisation.
After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had not yet declared Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. The court told him that if that was so, the LeT’s having links with the Al Qaeda is no offence under the law.
The court, which ordered the release of Saeed on June 2, released on June 6 the details of the grounds on which it ordered his release. One of the grounds says: “The security laws and anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan are silent on the Al Qaeda being a terrorist organisation.”
The court added, “Even after the perusal of these documents we do not find any material declaring that the detention was necessary for the security of the petitioners and there was no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al Qaeda or any terrorist movement.”
Thus, eight years after 9/11, Pakistan is yet to declare Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. Is this sheer, shocking negligence or is there something more sinister to it? Does one require any more evidence to show that Pakistan’s so-called war against terrorism is a farce?

Some years ago, when General Pervez Musharraf , the blue-eyed warrior against terrorism of the then United States President George W Bush, was the President of Pakistan, its police had arrested an individual on the charge of belonging to the Al Qaeda.

When he was produced before an anti-terrorism court, it asked the government lawyer to produce a copy of the notification under which Al Qaeda had been declared a terrorist organisation. After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had overlooked declaring Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation.

He promised that a notification would be issued shortly and requested that the arrested person continue to remain in custody till then. The court did not accept the plea. It ordered his release. It held that even if it was a fact that he belonged to the Al Qaeda, he had not committed an offence because Al Qaeda was not a terrorist organisation under Pakistani laws.

Some years later, in December 2008 to be precise, the Pakistani government placed Professor Hafeez Mohammad Saeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political front of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist strike of November 26. The action was taken following the decision of the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council to include the JuD and the LeT as associates of the Al Qaeda.

Saeed went to the Lahore high court to challenge his house arrest. The government lawyer told the court that the action of the UN Sanctions Committee obliged the government to act against him. When the court did not agree with that contention and asked the lawyer whether the government had any independent evidence of its own, the lawyer met the three judges privately and showed them, what he claimed, was independent evidence of the LeT’s links with Al Qaeda. The judges wanted to see a copy of the government notification under which Al Qaeda was declared a terrorist organisation.

After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had not yet declared Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. The court told him that if that was so, the LeT’s having links with the Al Qaeda is no offence under the law.

The court, which ordered the release of Saeed on June 2, released on June 6 the details of the grounds on which it ordered his release. One of the grounds says: “The security laws and anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan are silent on the Al Qaeda being a terrorist organisation.”

The court added, “Even after the perusal of these documents we do not find any material declaring that the detention was necessary for the security of the petitioners and there was no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al Qaeda or any terrorist movement.”

Thus, eight years after 9/11, Pakistan is yet to declare Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. Is this sheer, shocking negligence or is there something more sinister to it? Does one require any more evidence to show that Pakistan’s so-called war against terrorism is a farce?

Excerpts from Raman’s article ends.

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May 23, 2009

The Jaffna Tamils

Filed under: Sri Lanka — thecandideye @ 3:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

This article appeared in SAAG by B.Raman.I have reproduced the same.

As I watched TV visuals of the death of V.Prabakaran, the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and read and heard accounts of the way his dead body was disfigured and rolled in dirt  by the Sri Lankan Army , my mind went back to the years 1951-55 when I was a student of the Loyola College of Chennai, run by the Society of Jesus. Every class, including mine, had four or five Tamils from the Northern Province of Ceylon as Sri Lanka used to be known before 1972. Even in those days, they never considered themselves part of Ceylon. They would introduce themselves as Jaffna Tamils and not as Ceylonese Tamils.

2. Every middle class family in Jaffna would save whatever money it could and send its offspring to Tamil Nadu for higher education. The most popular colleges among the Jaffna Tamils was the Loyola and the Christian Colleges of Chennai and the St.Joseph’s of Tiruchi. They were intelligent, hard-working and with a keen sense of humour. During off-class hours, they would keep to themselves and did not mix much with other students.

3. Every Jaffna Tamil, like a Tamil from Tamil Nadu, wanted to become a Government servant. The other popular profession was as lawyers. When they went back to Ceylon after completing their college education in India, they would join the Government service in Colombo. In the first few years after Ceylon became independent, the Jaffna Tamils dominated the Ceylonese bureaucracy.

4. They dominated the buraucracy even in the then Malaya and Singapore. The British preferred employing the Jaffna Tamils as bureaucrats in many of their Asian colonies. Apart from their intelligence, command of the English language and capacity for hard work, the Jaffna Tamils also had a good reputation for their integrity and honesty.

5. The Wikipedia writes as follows of the Jaffna Tamil community in Malaya and Singapore: “Ceylonese Tamils made up an overwhelming majority in the civil service of British Malaya and Singapore prior to independence…..Many of the first Asian and non-white doctors and engineers in Malaya and Singapore were of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. The world’s first Asian surgeon was Dr S.S. Thiruchelvam, a Malayan of Ceylonese Tamil origin. Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said: “In terms of numbers, the Ceylonese, like the Eurasians, are among the smallest of our various communities. Yet in terms of achievements and contributions to the growth and development of the modern Singapore and Malaysia they have done more than warranted by their numbers. In the early days of Malaysia’s and Singapore’s history the civil service and the professions were manned by a good number of Ceylonese. Even today the Ceylonese community continues to play a prominent role in these and other fields of civil life. For example in Singapore, today, the Speaker of Parliament is a Ceylonese. So is our High Commissioner in Great Britain. So is our Foreign Minister. In the Judiciary, in the civil service, in the university, in the medical Service and in the professions they continue to make substantial contributions out of all proportion to their numbers. They are there not because they are members of a minority community but on the basis of merit. The point is that the Ceylonese are holding their own in open competition with communities far larger than them. They have asked for no special favour or consideration as a minority. What they have asked for – and quite rightly – is that they should be judged on their merits and that they be allowed to compete with all other citizens fairly and without discrimination. This, as far as the Singapore Government is concerned, is what is best for all of us. I believe that the future belongs to that society which acknowledges and rewards ability, drive and high performance without regard to race, language or religion.” He used the word Ceylonese, but he was actually talking of Tamils of Jaffna origin working in Singapore.

6. In my younger days, the Jaffna Tamils had a reputation for being meek and mild. We used to make fun of them by saying that if a policeman or a soldier pointed a gun at them they would tie their lungi above the knees and run. It is remarkable how Prabakaran made them shed their meek demeanour and stand up and fight for their rights. They fought ferociously because they felt degraded and humiliated by the Sinhalese majority after the British left Ceylon in 1948.

7. They put up with all the humiliation and indignity heaped upon them for 35 years. Then, they could no longer. They took to terrorism and insurgency to give vent to their anger. Their revolt against the Sinhalese might have been crushed by the Sri Lankan Army, but their anger remains—- in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka itself as well as in the diaspora. Since the LTTE-led revolt broke out in 1983 nearly one million Sri Lankan Tamils are estimated to have fled abroad. You find them all over West Europe, North America and Australia.

8. In response to my articles on the LTTE and Sri Lanka, I get a large number of personal messages from the members of the diaspora. Some are angry, but polite. Some downright abusive and threatening. Some curse India for allegedly letting down the Tamils and pray to God to punish India and the Indians for not helping the Tamils. “Just because Prabakaran killed Rajeev, you are punishing the entire Tamil community,’ complains one message.” Your Prime Minister has not uttered a word of condemnation of the cruelties inflicted on the Tamil civilians by the SL Army. I pray to God that all of you must suffer one day the same way we are suffering.”

9. The Tamil diaspora is yet to come to terms with the consequences of the death of Prabakaran to the future of their struggle for dignity and equality. They are studying how the Jewish diaspora conducted itself in its darkest days in the 1940s. The message that is being tom-tomed across the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora is: “Let us emulate the Jewish diaspora. We will prevail just as the Jewish people prevailed”.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:seventyone2@gmail.com)

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