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Why the Bill seeking to declare Pakistan a terror sponsor was withdrawn and the way forward

It has been only a couple of days since Pakistan’s ceasefire violation claimed the life of a BSF jawan. Amid unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms firing, head constable R P Hazra laid down his life defending the nation. It was his birthday, the day terror state and its relentless violence snuffed out yet another life.

Just a couple of days before R P Hazra laid down his life, The President of United States of America tweeted, hinting at cutting security aid to Pakistan. And it has been reported just a few hours ago, that The United States has indeed suspended security aid to the Terror state.

With these developments, one wonder why India as a nation cheers when the United States takes decisive action against a state like Pakistan, that uses terror as a state policy, but falls short when it comes to standing up for herself, against the state that has vowed to bleed her with a thousand cuts.

In February of 2017, a private member bill was introduced in the Parliament of India by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, that sought to officially declare Pakistan a sponsor of terror. He had also appealed to the members of the parliament to snap all economic and trade relations with Pakistan. While this bill was met with sweeping support by the public at large, on March 10th, to everyone’s utter dismay, the bill was withdrawn by Chandrasekhar.

in view of the recent developments and renewed aggression by Pakistan as far as the border and the incredulous insults heaped against the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav go, I caught up with Rajeev Chandrasekhar to speak to him about the private member bill he had introduced last year.

I asked Mr. Chandrasekhar why he had introduced the bill in the first place. His rationale and reasons.

He said, that he couldn’t fathom why a country of 1.2 billion people wouldn’t haul up a country that his bled this country dry for so long. Why, a country like India would need to look upon other countries like the USA to take definitive action against Pakistan. There was no doubt in the mind of every man, woman and children that Pakistan was a terrorist nation, and this bill was an attempt to get the representatives of the people sitting in the parliament to declare officially what the entire nation knows beyond a shadow of doubt. We are a nation that survived enemies, fought wars and prevailed, why would we, per him, not confront our greatest enemy today that has vowed to bleed us with a thousand cuts. He said he introduced the bill because it was time we stopped piggy-backing on the USA or other nations, as an endorsement of a fact that we already know; that Pakistan is a terror nation. It is an enemy nation.

He also said that the bill was discussed subsequently for 2 Fridays and most MPs who participated in the discussion, wanted the bill to be passed and for Pakistan to be declared a terror state.

I then asked him, that if the bill was discussed to extensively, and if most MPs who participated in the debate wanted the bill to be passed, why then was the bill eventually withdrawn. 

Mr. Chandrasekhar said that when the bill was being discussed, the Home Ministry of India, said that we don’t need to bring in a legislation to declare Pakistan a terror state. The Government has all the executive powers it needs to declare Pakistan a terror state and ban trade and commerce with Pakistan. Hence, it was the Home Ministry, and specifically, Mr. Hansraj Ahir, MoS Home Affairs, who requested Rajeev Chandrasekhar to withdraw the bill.

He then introduced a resolution instead of a bill saying that the Parliament resolves that Pakistan is a terror state. That resolution has unfortunately not been admitted this session, but Mr. Chandrasekhar is hopeful that the Parliament might pass this resolution in the budget session.

I asked him, that since the Home Minister himself didn’t show resolve in passing the bill, stating that the government has executive powers, what made him think that this resolution would be accepted. 

He assured that in his informal communication with the functionaries of the government, firstly, there was no doubt in their mind that Pakistan was a terror state and it posed a clear threat to not only the security of India, but that of the entire region. He also assured that the government has full faith in the resolution that Mr. Chandrasekhar wanted to introduce in the parliament. He said there might be some quibbling about the ‘Is being dotted and the Ts being crossed’ and that is all a subject matter of debate. But the fact that the Parliament needs to speak up on behalf of the people, has been agreed upon and there is no difference of opinion there.

To conclude, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that he wasn’t someone to give up on his beliefs in a hurry, and he was going to try his best to pursue this issue and see to it that the resolution is tabled in the budget session.

While the Government so far, hasn’t displayed the resolve the use its executive powers to declare Pakistan a terror state, this resolution, hopefully to be tabled in the budget session of the parliament gives hope that soon, Pakistan might have to face the possibility of being officially declared a terror state by India and her representatives.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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