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Monday, December 17, 2012

Rahman Malik’s vitriolic attack on India from atop Indian platform !

On the anniversary of the shameful attack on the  supreme Institution of India – the Parliament, I had posted that I am totally against Cricket with Pakistan in India at this juncture.  Cricket with the sole purpose of enriching the coffers of Pak Cricket Board is totally unwarranted. At a personal level despite my following of the game, I  have decided that would not watch the Indo Pak Series nor write a single post on the game…. 

In a move defying logic, India's home ministry has cleared a limited-overs tour by the Pakistan team, prompting the BCCI to say the tour "is on" at the end of the year. The clearance was given at a meeting in New Delhi between ministry officials and senior representatives of the BCCI – including its chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and chief executive Sundar Raman. Rajiv Shukla was quoted as saying that they had discussed all security aspects (and) the tour is on. I had thought that BCCI administers Cricket and stops with that !!! The tour would have 2 T20s and 3 ODIs – at Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkatta and Delhi from 25th Dec to Jan 6th 13. It will be the first bilateral series between the two sides since Pakistan toured India in end-2007, though they have met in multinational tournaments. Cricket ties between the two countries were snapped following the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai by militants from Pakistan.

Now this week, we had the tour of Minister from Pakistan who kept shooting from his hip on various matters, many of which he seemingly had no knowledge of, driving people to think  there is no point in talks with Pakistan. Today, in the  Lok Sabha, Yashwant Sinha demanded that no talks should be held with Pakistan till the culprits of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and its prime conspirator Saeed were handed over to India by Islamabad. Maintaining that Malik’s statements during the visit had “hurt the prestige of the country”, he attacked Shinde for not countering his Pakistani counterpart and remaining “silent” during the entire period. While Sinha slammed Malik, Congress MP Rajiv Shukla said, “Don’t mix cricket with politics. The cricket series with Pakistan will go on.” ~ and Rajiv Shukla has stakes in IPL and Indian Cricket.

The offensive and provocative comments while on Indian soil cannot be dismissed as mere indiscretions of an ill-informed politician,  as these are outpourings and open attacks on the Nation by a Senator of Pakistan - Abdul Rehman Malik the  Interior Minister of Pakistan.  He is no stranger to controversy !   His membership of the Senate, and so his position as Interior Minister, was suspended by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for holding dual nationality on 4th June 2012

How and why should India invite a person and present a platform for his anti-India rhetoric.  Reports state that India refused to issue a joint statement with Pakistan at the end of interior minister Rehman Malik's three-day visit, a public protest against the provocations of the visiting Pakistani minister which set the peace process backwards, negating the very objective of the meeting. What has a Pak leader to talk on internal matters of India be it Mumbai attacks or Babri demolition.  Sad that Rehman Malik abused his hospitality in India, but only because the UPA government let him.

In the space of a few hours, Malik virtually resorted to a carpet bombing of Indian sensibilities in their entirety with injudicious comments. First, he scoffed at India’s forensic evidence of Pakistani official complicity in the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai,  by establishing false equivalences between that act of proxy war and India’s internal law and order problems. Then he suggested that Kargil war hero Capt Saurabh, whose mutilated remains bore evidence of torture at Pakistani hands, may have died owing to inclement weather in the high Himalayas.  Then,  Malik lobbed another verbal grenade by suggesting that Abu Jundal, the Pakistani operative who had been arrested in Saudi Arabia and extradited earlier this year, had been an agent of an Indian intelligence establishment.  They do not look jibes of  a gifted clown; could not be an impromptu performance but sternly appears to be deliberate application of mind. Malik’s disinformation strategy against India works largely because Indian officialdom and the media have largely played along with him by providing him a platform to pontificate – without challenging him vigorously enough.

The comments, the act and allowing him to speak so in Indian soil has left a pungent bitter taste for all Nation loving citizens. Firstpost reports of the incident confirming the Pakistan's attitude towards the 26/11 case - tall promises but no follow-up – that when Shinde asked Malik for details of the 26/11 chargesheet filed with the anti-terror court in Adiala jail, Malik promptly offered to get the signatory, an additional secretary who was part of his delegation, to hand over the document. However, when the additional secretary in question was confronted with the request for a copy of the chargesheet, he looked puzzled and said he had brought no such document with him. Reports mention that Malik twice cited killing of Pakistani citizens in Samjhauta blast almost as a counterpoise to the terrorist attack on Mumbai, besides, predictably, rejecting India's argument that it had given enough material to Pakistan to act against Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed.  The former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy is quoted as stating, "This shows the folly of inviting a Pakistani leader without any political standing who would only try to appease domestic opinion and the army."

Malik offered to meet Kalia’s father after making that insensitive comment that Kalia could have fell victim to harsh weather when there were tell-tale marks of torture on Kalia's body. Malik's visit and his  remarks are not a happy augury for the patient fence-mending the two countries have been engaged in.

The primary learning from the issue is not to invite such persons and provide them platform for pillorying India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Dec 2012.

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