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Monday, 7 July 2014

From Today's Papers - 07 Jul 2014

BRICS Summit: PM to meet Chinese, Russian Presidents
Ashok Tuteja and R Sedhuraman
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 6
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for Brazil next week to attend the sixth BRICS Summit to be held on July 15-16. He will have bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the summit. The meetings would be aimed at further strengthening trade and other ties with the two nations.

This will be Modi’s first meeting with Xi, who is expected to visit India later this year. Briefing reporters on the BRICS Summit and the PM’s meetings with BRICS and Latin American leaders, Sujata Mehta (Secretary, Economic Affairs) and Dinkar Khullar (Secretary-West in the External Affairs Ministry), said the schedule for the bilateral meetings was still being worked out. “You can be rest assured that there will be bilateral meetings,” they said.

The summit would focus on UN Security Council reforms and the proposed BRICS Development Bank and a common fund to meet situations arising from possible liquidity crunch in any member nations of BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“We will be hoping for an endorsement of the need for UNSC reforms and that is an important issue we will pursue in these discussions,” the officials said in response to a question on India’s expectations from the meet.

Asked about the likely headquarters and activities of the proposed bank, they said all aspects were still under discussion. It would be a bank giving concessional credit to BRICS members and other developing nations identified by them.

Modi and other BRICS leaders would have a meeting with their counterparts from other nations of Latin America on July 16. The officials said a larger number of leaders had expressed their interest in meeting Modi. The bilateral meetings would be held depending on the convenience of time.

On his arrival in Brasilia, Modi would go to the Presidential Palace where he would have a reception and talks. “The Prime Minister is more concerned about the substance” than other things, they said in response to a query as to whether he would prefer a ceremonial reception or breakfast, the options given by the host country.

On July 15, there would be closed-door discussions between BRICS leaders, besides an open session.
Ex-servicemen write to PM over litigation in SC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Ex-servicemen have expressed concern over growing litigation and appeals in the Supreme Court against disabled and war disabled soldiers by officials of Ministry of Defence and urged Prime Minister to step in to end harassment.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Law Minister and the three Service Chiefs, the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) pointed out that the maximum number of appeals pending in the SC is against disabled and war disabled soldiers against their disability pension benefits amounting to, at times, as little as Rs 1,000 per month.

It is not only financially impossible for soldiers to fight the might of the government at the Supreme Court level but also a morale wrecker to see the establishment fight tooth and nail against its own soldiers, the letter adds.

The IESM said the PM had made it known that he was not in favour of such litigation and this was emphatically highlighted even during his rally for ex-servicemen in Rewari, Haryana.

The ruling party had also made this a part of the manifesto wherein it was emphasised that such appeals would be minimised. However, much against the wishes of the PM and the manifesto, government lawyers were continuing to fight pending cases against disabled soldiers and were also filing fresh cases on the instructions of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare of the Ministry of Defence.

Claiming that thousands of more such cases were in line to be filed in the SC against relief granted to disabled soldiers by the High Courts and Armed Forces Tribunals, the IESM said many of such cases/appeals were against the concept of “broad-banding” of disability percentage of disabled soldiers, which are already covered under earlier judgments.

Stating that ex-servicemen had high hopes from the current government to look after the welfare and morale of our soldiers and veterans, the IESM said it would not only be ethically and morally, but also legally correct to initiate withdrawal of all such unprincipled litigation so as to boost the spirit of the soldiers and their families, rather than weaken it.

The plea

    It has pointed out that maximum appeals pending in the SC are against disability pension benefits to soldiers
    It not only affects soldiers' morale but is not financially feasible for them to take on the government in the SC, it says.
Kasab class: Where LeT recruits learn what not to do

Srinagar/New Delhi, July 6
A special “Kasab class” is part of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)’s training module for its new recruits during which they are told about the mistakes committed by Ajmal Kasab during the deadly Mumbai terror attack.

This emerged during interrogation of LeT terrorist Mohd Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzala, a resident of Multan in Pakistan, who was arrested by the police in the third week of last month in South Kashmir, official sources said.

Giving details of his background, Jutt told interrogators that his father was a retired Army driver and he, along with his brothers, was part of madrassas which were owned by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front for LeT, sources said.

Jutt is the first Lashkar terrorist who has said during interrogation that he had met Kasab, the Pakistan terrorist hanged in November last year after being sentenced to death for his role in the 2008 Mumbai carnage.

Accused of killing many policemen in South Kashmir, Jutt reportedly said he was part of Borevalla Sahiwala camp of the LeT in Multan district of Punjab where he had met Kasab.

Among the mistakes which were pointed out by the LeT in its presentation was the inability of Kasab and his team to destroy the boat that carried them to the Mumbai coast, speaking on satellite phones with real identities, inability to take any hostages and getting arrested, sources said. — PTI
The military seems lost in transition
In view of the military establishment’s history of unconstitutional interventions and linkages with religion-based militant groups, the key to the possible dual transition is a Pakistan, which is neither monopolised nor controlled by the Pakistani military establishment
Faisal Sidiqui

Can constitutional legitimacy flow from the barrel of a gun … If reliance on coercive force in gaining power is legitimised or condoned, there can be no rational basis for decrying the assault on the writ of the state by any band of marauders, robbers, adventurers and zealots of varying extremes in the political spectrum.”

— Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja
JOHN Mortimer’s fictional character, Rumpole (of the Bailey), always introduces his wife not by her name but as “she who must be obeyed”. If Rumpole was a citizen of Pakistan, he would certainly adapt the same description to portray the Pakistani military establishment, ie “they who must be obeyed” or maybe, “they who must be feared”.

These notions of “obedience” and “fear” attached to the military establishment may be critical to the functioning of any modern army but in view of the political role of the Pakistani military establishment, they are obstacles to the possible dual transition taking place in Pakistan.

The military is adapting to changes, but only in order to remain the same.

The first transition concerns a modern army operating under, and in accordance with, a modern constitutional state; the second pertains to a post-Zia Pakistan with the state neither using nor protecting nor promoting nor tolerating religion-based militant groups. The first will ensure that Pakistan is a normal, modern constitutional state and the second that it is becoming a part of the world community.

In view of the military establishment’s history of unconstitutional interventions and linkages with religion-based militant groups, the key to these transitions is a Pakistan, which is neither monopolised nor controlled by the Pakistani military establishment. We can examine five key aspects of this transition.

Foundational realities: Why do serving and retired generals rush to the hospital, when summoned by the courts? In the existential world of the military establishment, the primary source of power and legitimisation is the military institution itself, ie military discipline and rules. All other sources, including the Constitution and law, are secondary. This is their belief, their institutional DNA. It is precisely for this reason that every military coup, or intervention, is based on the false choice between saving the state (as defined by them) and saving the Constitution.

Therefore, the Constitution, independent courts and civilian oversight undermine this existential military world leading to taboo questions being raised regarding the personal and institutional accountability of military personnel and their institutions. It is not surprising that there is a connection between military personnel being admitted to hospital and the institution being subjected to the Constitution and the law.

Military coups: Military coups are bad not only because they are unconstitutional. They are bad because they have not worked in Pakistan as they have failed to provide political stability, a government representative of multiple communities and groups. They are completely unaccountable and have a force-based governing model. In short, they are a failed model of authoritarian governance in Pakistan.

Moreover, like empires, military authoritarian models are no longer in fashion in this post-modern world. Anyone tempted by the recent events in Egypt and Thailand, should remember the institutional and public mobilisation in Pakistan during the 2007-2009 period and the enduring consensus among the main political parties against military rule. Like the Soviet coup of 1991, any future Pakistani coup will face resistance from the judiciary, political parties and civil society.

Politics by other means: Using Article 58 (2) (b) to dismiss political governments during the 1990s, not having martial law administrators but merely a “chief executive” model of military governance in 1999 and a mere 42-day military rule in November-December 2007 show that the military establishment is acting on Tomasi’s advice that “everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”.

Moreover, recent events involving their alleged use of an intra-media commercial conflict to impose media restrictions or the alleged campaign against the Supreme Court by targeting a sitting Supreme Court judge known for his integrity and his past record against military excesses eg the initiation of the Musharraf trial, missing persons’ cases, audit of intelligence agencies, show that the military is adapting to changes but in order to remain the same.

The new legitimisation: The paradox is that the military establishment’s role in the fight against Islamist militants is critical but dealing with this existential threat would also involve the massive transfer of power in areas of internal and external security policy to the military establishment.

The “war against terror”, the “fight against the Baloch insurgency” and their role in fighting against various organised violent crimes in Karachi and in other parts of the country, seem to provide a basis for the legitimisation of their dominant political role. Moreover, the present phase of the “war against terror” in Fata may provide a long-term basis of a new legitimisation for them, which will involve tremendous power with little accountability.

Institutional vacuum: The Ministry of Defence is purportedly a department of the government, theoretically controlled by the defence minister and located outside Islamabad — being the main bridge between the civilian institutions and the military. But no one, (including the civilian government and institutions such as the judiciary, GHQ and intelligence agencies), takes the ministry seriously.

Therefore, the critical problem seems to be that there is no permanent institutional structure between the civilian government on the one hand, and GHQ and the intelligence agencies on the other, which allows for an institutional dialogue. The latter would include the articulation of both grievances and perceived institutional interests. Such an institutional vacuum does not allow for a timely, and constant, institutional dialogue, which leads to unnecessary conflicts.

The military establishment seems to be lost in transition. The failure to achieve this transition may lead not to the break-up of Pakistan but to a country which is medieval in its outlook, engrossed in perpetual domestic violent conflicts and a constant migraine for the world. Not a nice place to live even for our brave soldiers.

The writer was formerly consultant to the office of the attorney general of Pakistan.

By arrangement with the Dawn
'Self-reliance Needed in Defence Sector'

SRI NAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said self-reliance in defence offset manufacturing was essential and asserted that strong armed forces were necessary “to create an atmosphere of peace, amity and brotherhood in the country”.

“Self-reliance in defence offset manufacturing is essential for the security (aatma-raksha) of the nation,” Modi said, addressing over 1,000 men and officers of the Army during the “Sainik Samelan” at Badamibagh cantonment, headquarters of the Army’s 15 corps here.

To ensure defence production, he said, a major portion of the defence budget had to be spent on the import of weapon systems and equipment. “This is more than the money spent on the welfare of jawans. When the country starts producing these systems, not only the soldier, but every citizen will get motivated. The money saved could be spent on the welfare of the soldiers.”

“The country needs strong Armed Forces. All that will not happen unless the borders are secure. To achieve this we need to modernize the security forces and I am for it,” he said.

Lauding the sacrifices and selflessness of defence personnel, Modi said, “You have all left your families and are serving in difficult conditions. I assure you that millions of Indians are with you. This support will serve as security for you,” he said.

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