Death of a good leader

Updated 07 March 2017
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Death of a good leader

The late Indian leader Syed Shahabuddin was a distinguished parliamentarian. Even though he achieved too little in politics, he was free from all the avarice prevalent in Indian public life. It is well known that no political party, including that of Indira Gandhi, could win him over and buy him at any price. He was successful in bringing awareness to Indian Muslims regarding their infallible right to negotiate for their constitutional rights without becoming the fodder of vote-bank politics.
He was the epitome of the collective angst of Indian Muslim suffering, simmering since independence but obviously without the force of a long-lasting mass movement. The Indian political system was not ready to impart even constitutional rights to its religious minorities and Babri Masjid was the embodiment of this blatant prejudice.
Shahabuddin was ahead of his time. The Indian Muslim community was incapable of taking advantage of his intellect in parliamentary democracy. He was certainly not a mass leader or a demagogue but rather a sincere thinker with great cognitive power.
His journal, “Muslim India,” is a testament to the discrimination suffered by Muslims in democratic India: In the economy, jobs, education, the share in governmental benefits, social uplift, judicial apathy, the extinction of their culture and language, non-participation in policy-making, inadequate representation in parliamentary politics, de-listing of Muslim backward classes from the list of reserved castes, the high-handedness of the delimitation commission, manipulation of census reports, tribulation in communal carnage, non-presence of any mechanism for dispensing justice to the victims of communal carnage, etc. It was he who brought all such issues to the forefront of Indian politics without mincing words. This was anathema in free India.
Whether Indian Muslims agree or disagree, it is a fact that Shahabuddin gave a voice to Muslims so they could be heard on issues which were swept under the carpet by mainstream political parties. For this, we owe him a lot and we can learn much from his “Muslim India.”


Spies deserve ‘harsh punishment’

Updated 17 April 2017
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Spies deserve ‘harsh punishment’

This refers to the story “Pakistan’s army sentences alleged Indian spy to death” (April 11, 2017). Since the announcement of the death penalty for Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian intelligence agent who was involved in various terrorist activities in Pakistan, the Indian media are making false allegations against Islamabad.
We are citizens of a sovereign country. No one can dictate to us how to ensure the security of our people. Jadhav’s confession regarding his activities in Pakistan is available on YouTube. That should be enough for the Indian authorities.
A spy that conducts and masterminds terrorist activities that result in the death of many people has to face harsh punishment.
I firmly believe that if the death penalty is waived in Jadhav’s case, the consequences will be worse and terrorist acts will escalate in our country.
This must come to an end.
As Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to the prime minister, pointed out in his recent statement, Jadhav was tried according to the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner, while granting him his rights, as per the constitution of Pakistan.
Due process has been followed in the proceedings against him.
Jadhav, a serving commander in the Indian Navy, was apprehended on March 3, 2016, having crossed into Pakistan from the Saravan border with Iran.
He was found in possession of an Indian passport issued by the government of India on May 12, 2015, and valid until May 11, 2024.
He confessed that he is a resident of Mumbai, India, still serving in the Indian Navy and that his retirement is due in 2022.
New Delhi should not underestimate the fact that the entire Pakistani population is behind the Pakistan Army.
We, Pakistanis, have been victims of massive terrorist acts for decades.
I am sure that our government and armed forces understand that there shall be no compromise where Jadhav is concerned. — Farheen Ayub, Taif