Delayed American realisation of Pakistan
Vijay Darda : Not all is well between the US and Pakistan. Pakistan would not have anticipated that the Trump administration would take such a stringent step. Suddenly, Trump said last week that in the last 15 years, Pakistan has just given America “lies and deceits” in exchange for a $33 billion aid and has provided safe haven to the terrorists. Soon the news came that the security subsidy of more than $ 1.15 billion was withheld. Nothing can be clearly said about how long this stay will remain. While the US is still showing severity, it also knows that Pakistan is the only surface route for it to reach Afghanistan.
It may be recalled that in May 2011 when the US Marines had entered Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan had blocked the way going towards Afghanistan. Then the US troops had to face a dilemma. However, it does not seem that this time Pakistan will try to show such adamance! The reason for this is that this time the US is annoyed. It has clearly said that Pakistan has sheltered terror groups like Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network and is not taking any action against them. If Pakistan tried to show any adamance, the Trump administration could go to any extent.
Actually, the US is trying to give a double message to Pakistan by blocking the aid. One is the message of destroying terrorist groups which are a headache in Afghanistan for the United States and the second message is that Pakistan should not sit completely in China’s lap! America is worried that China’s infiltration in Pakistan will harm its interests. Pakistan understands this, but it knows that the way China is supporting it on the issue of fighting with India, the United States will not support it. That is why it is trying to convey to the US that it is annoyed due to the close proximity of the US to India. So this matter is just a tug of war.
Should we be happy with the tiff between America and Pakistan? Should it be expected that Pakistan will rein in terrorism that thrives on its own soil? Will some of this benefit us in Kashmir issue? The only answer to these questions is that we should not form any opinion in a hurry. Of course, if Pakistan does not get American aid for a few years, it will have an impact on the Pakistan military’s strength. China is not so generous that it will compensate Pakistan for the financial assistance received from the US. The reality is that Pakistan has been helped by the US since the time it came into existence. After the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, Pakistan became a big ally of the US and in turn got US help. According to the report of the US think-tank Centre for Global Development and the US Congress, the US gave Pakistan $39.93 billion between 2002 and 2015.
America is also aware that Pakistan has misused the money it has been given to fight terrorism. Pakistan took action against those terrorist organisations which proved to be dangerous for Pakistan itself. On the other hand, it used this money to strengthen those terrorist organisations that could destroy India. The US has strong evidence that the 26/11 attacks in India have been carried out by terrorists sheltered in Pakistan. The biggest name among them is Hafiz Saeed.
The US has put a bounty of millions of dollars on the head of the world’s dreaded terrorist Hafiz Saeed, but did the US pressurise Pakistan to tighten the screws on Saeed? No, not at all! If the US desired, Hafiz Saeed would be paying for his crimes. So there is no harm in saying that America is not interested in destroying terrorism we are troubled with. It only sees its own interests. America knew that the military equipment it has been giving to Pakistan has always been used against India.
Now America is extending the hand of friendship with us, and it is due to China and Russia. Today the US is being challenged by the duo. America is looking forward to having a powerful nation with it in the form of India in South Asia. We have to be careful! America should understand that it takes two to make a clap!
For Pakistan, I would like to specifically say that it will have to open its eyes. It has to take care of its people. The terrorism it is nurturing to harm others will destroy it too.
Before I concluded
Recently, I visited Israel. I met many people there. Everyone asked the same question as to why India opposed the proposal to make Jerusalem Israel’s capital in the United Nations. Israel is a friend of India. As far as relations with the Arab nations were concerned, India could have abstained from voting. The Israelis are really very upset because of India’s stand.
A serious challenge to turn despair into hope
Vijay Darda : In the glorious history of Congress, Rahul Gandhi has the privilege of being elected as the president of the party at a young age. The critics may say that he is from the Nehru-Gandhi family, so he has been anointed. But the fact remains that every process of election has been complied with in his installation as party president. It was the long standing desire of grass root party workers that Rahul Gandhi should become the president of their party. I fully hope that he will surmount all challenges.
Rahul Gandhi is the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family and the culture and strengths of this family are ingrained in him. From Motilal Nehru to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and later Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi all have made significant contributions in empowering the country’s citizens through the party. The entire world is aware of the contribution of this family, their participation in the freedom struggle and their sacrifices for the nation. Critics should keep in mind that people are not just honoured for nothing, one does not just gain the confidence of the people without earning their trust. It is not without reason that people of the country showered their affection on Pandit Nehru or Indiraji. There was great sacrifice that went behind the earning of that trust, confidence and affection. Rahul Gandhi has now inherited that legacy and will march ahead in his own quest for the trust and confidence of the people.
Here I would like to say that you can not compare Rahul Gandhi with Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi. Generations change with time. The important point is that ingrained cultural values do not change. The culture of Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family, their reverence for democracy, the struggle against communal forces, the intent of war against poverty has always been and still exists within both the family and the party. Congress has always strived to improve the condition of farmers, tribals, workers and the weaker sections of this country. Rahul Gandhi is also equally compassionate and committed to treading the same path.
Rahul Gandhi faces a lot of challenges. There was a concerted move to malign his image. In fact, according to the Goebbelsian doctrine, a lie repeated a hundred times eventually ends up as the truth. In fact, defaming people without any basis has become an industry today. Although Rahul Gandhi's persona has proved the propaganda wrong, the times are such that communal forces, miscreants and social media can not be dismissed offhand or taken lightly. The Congress will have to fight these forces, perhaps the battles will be intense.
The serious challenge facing Rahul Gandhi is to combat the disappointment within the Congress and transform it into hope. Today we see much enthusiasm in BJP and RSS workers, but once upon a time that was the Congress workers' USP. Everybody considered it a great honour to be called a Congress worker. People also used to declare their Congress credentials with pride even at the time of forming marriage alliances. Rahul Gandhi has to restore this honour to Congress workers. Soniaji tried to keep the Congress united with her untiring efforts.
On a personal level, I have the knowledge that not everything worked out as per her wish, nevertheless she took everybody into confidence. Rahul Gandhi will also discover he will not get everything according to plan. He will also have to take everybody along.
I would like to state one more thing that in current political scenario, money dominates all activities. Even to organize a rally, contracts are issued right from hiring vehicles and collecting crowds to getting people to clap. Congress is also not untouched by this. The original worker used to take people from the locality to the meeting place, used to hoist flags and spread ideas. But now this worker is not visible anywhere. In the past people of the Seva Dal were entrusted with this task, now they are reduced to merely attending celebrations on August 15, January 26 or Congress Day in their uniforms and offer salutes.
NSUI is in bad shape. This platform to hunt for student leaders has been rendered useless. The dismal status of Youth Congress is not hidden from anyone. That is the party's very base. New leaders will rise from there. But today, money matters so much in their appointments that no one without money can hope to become Youth Congress president or Mahila Congress president. People with innate leadership qualities thus are blocked from coming forward. This situation needs to be changed. Rahul Gandhi will have to keep himself away from the army of hangers-on. Today senior leaders also complain that their messages do not reach Rahul Gandhi. In fact, he will have to become a mass leader, whose doors are open to one and all. I would like to give the example of Sharad Pawar whom even a common worker can meet directly. And yes, the reluctant attitude towards industrialists also must change. Some of these people may be wrong, not all. It is important to understand that industrialists make important contribution to the country's GDP. They are important partners in the development of the country.
Before I conclude
I congratulate Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu, because he has objected to the word "beg”, used by members while tabling documents. In my 18 years of Parliamentary tenure, I have always objected to the words in use from the colonial days such as “Your excellency”, “I beg to lay”, “Your honour” and VT (viceroy territory) on aircraft.
I had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had made an appeal to remove these words. Now after the strong objection of the Vice President, I hope that such words will soon be removed from the proceedings.