Army Calling Shots In Pak, No Control Of Civilian Govt: Azad

Army Calling Shots In Pak, No Control Of Civilian Govt: Azad

31 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad today called upon Pakistan to stop infiltration of militants and smuggling of arms into Jammu and Kashmir to improve relations with India. However, he said Pakistan Army didn’t appear to be interested in improvement of relations with India as they feared that it would make them irrelevant. Mr Azad, a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said he has “zero expectations’’ from Pakistan as it was the Pakistan Army, which calls shots in the neighbouring country and not the political leadership. Mr Azad, who reached here this morning on a two days visit of Jammu region, conducted extensive tour of Samba and Ramgarh sectors on the International Border today. He visited Nanga, Mawa and Suchetgarh Kullian, located right on the Zero Line in Ramgarh and Samba sectors respectively apart from Chamblayal. Tomorrow, he would be visiting Pargwal sector in Akhnoor tehsil. Accompanied by PCC (I) chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Housing Minister Raman Bhalla, Minister for Health Shabir Khan, Jammu-Poonch MP Madan Lal Sharma and other senior Congress leaders, Mr Azad also took a dig at Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi saying despite Modi’s campaigning, Congress had snatched two States-Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh from the BJP. Speaking to selected group of reporters at village Nanga, located on Zero Line of the International Border in Ramgarh sector during his tour of the border areas, Mr Azad said: “Pakistan needs to understand that good relations with India are in their interest. Frequent firing on the borders will prove costly for Pakistan. So they should stop ceasefire violations, pushing terrorists and smuggling weaponry into India’’. Blaming Pakistan for recent escalated tensions on the International Border and Line of Control in Jammu region, the Congress leader said Pakistan Army is not interested in improvement of relations with India. “They (the Pakistan Army) feared that this (improved relations with India) will make them irrelevant…And they feel they will become like as we have homeguards here,’’ he said in a lighter vein. He said Pakistan Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharief) and President (Mamnoon Hussain) have no control over their Army…And the Pakistan Army has no intentions to improve relations with India. “Even when Nawaz Sharief had taken over as Prime Minister of Pakistan I was asked by a reporter what was my expectation from the new Prime Minister of the neighbouring country. And my reply was: I have zero expectations. The reason for my observation of Nawaz Sharief was that in Pakistan, it was not their political leadership but the Army that calls the shots,’’ Mr Azad asserted. Replying to a question on resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, the Union Minister said India has genuine complaints with Pakistan Government and Pakistan Army as they continued to aid and abet terrorism in India especially Jammu and Kashmir. “Though we can’t hold talks with Pakistan Army but to talk to civilian Government in Pakistan, the neighbouring country should take some concrete and effective measures to stop abetting terrorism in India,’’ he said and hoped that Pakistan would realize the ground realities and to pave the way for dialogue with Pakistan take some steps against the terrorists. To a question on recent controversy generated by Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over Sardar Patel saying that Patel would have been better Prime Minister than Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mr Azad said: “so far the Congress is concerned there is no controversy. In fact, when Jawahar Lal Nehru became the Prime Minister, Sardar Patel was a party to the decision’’. In response to another question on Narendra Modi wave in the country, the veteran Congress leader observed that there was no Modi wave in any part of the country. “It (the Modi wave) is media created. There is no public wave. Despite adverse publicity, we were able to snatch two BJP ruled States-Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh from the BJP even when Modi had campaigned in the two States,’’ the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said. In response to another question on meeting of several top political leaders yesterday with a view to form ‘Third Front’ ahead of Lok Sabha elections next year, Mr Azad said: “it (the Third Front) is a good thing as they carried secular agenda. It is not against the Congress. It is against the communal forces’’. Earlier, addressing the border people at Suchetgarh Kullian and Mawa in Samba sector and Nanga and Chamblayal in Ramgarh sector, Mr Azad referring to demand of the people at all three places for allotment of 5 marlas land to them to construct houses at safer places to escape Pakistan firing and shelling, said he would take pursue the matter vigorously with Centre and State Governments. He said the Deputy Commissioners would be asked to identify 5 marlas plot for the border people in safer areas and then the matter would be taken up with Centre and State for allotment of land to the people living in firing zone. ” The possibility for grant of 5 marlas land to border people in safer areas will be explored,” he said. On the demand for special recruitment for the youth of border areas, Mr Azad said the demand would be taken up with Defence Minister (AK Antony) and Home Minister (Sushil Kumar Shinde) apart from the State Government. He also assured the people that the demand for compensation to the people, whose land falls ahead of the fencing would also be taken up with the concerned authorities. On another demand from the people of border areas that there should be a Prime Health Centre (PHC) in every border village for immediate treatment of the people injured in firing, Mr Azad assured that the demand would be immediately considered. Congress leader Manjit Singh, former Minister and Youth Congress leader, Paramjit Singh Pamma projected demands of the border migrants before Mr Azad and Prof Soz. The border people also demanded RBA status and addressing the problems of refugees. Mr Azad also paid tributes to Chamblayal Shrine.