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Thursday, October 7, 2010

EDITORIAL-Regional Security

Pakistan’s former military dictator, Parvez Musharraf, on the eve of launching his own political party has confessed that during his regime also there were training camps on the soil of Pakistan, for terrorists who were helped to infiltrate in the state of Jammu and Kashmir to create trouble there. It is only the confirmation of the Indian assertion that Pakistan is the breeding grounds of terrorism. When he was in power, he had indirectly admitted this fact by assuring India that henceforth soil of Pakistan will not be allowed for carrying on anti-India activities. A promise which he never kept. Similar confession had been made by the present Pakistani rulers as well when they, after much dilly dallying admitted that the conspiracy to attack Mumbai was hatched on the soil of Pakistan. But they said that the conspirators and those who supervised the attack on Mumbai were non-state players. And here lies the real problem.
Since the attack on the symbols of economic and military might of America nine years back, Pakistan, whether under military dictators or civilian rulers, had been a partner in the American war against so-called world terrorism. But this is also a fact that during all these years Americans have not been able to pressurize the Pakistani rulers to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism like the training camps in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir though India had been making such pleas repeatedly... Hence it is necessary that General Parvez Musharraf in place of telling the half truths should also reveal the forces that were behind his regime’s support to the terrorists who infiltrated in Jammu and Kashmir after getting trained there. Were they not the Americans? American imperialists are known for their double game in such matters.
Take the example of Afghanistan. The Taliban and Al-Qaida were products of American imperialists themselves. Osama bin Laden was personally trained in CIA camps in America. Pakistani Madrassas were converted into dens of terrorism and religious fundamentalism. Millions of dollars were provided to these fundamentalist forces to organize the so-called “Jehad” against the progressive regime of Dr. Najeebullah in Afghanistan. “Jehad” term was popularly and approvingly used in American propaganda as these bigots were fighting against the occupying Soviet army. Once Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan, through Pakistan, USA got Taliban regime installed . After having their puppet in power in Kabul, the Americans targeted the Middle East.
Americans instigated Saddam Hussein to launch war against Iran that lasted for about a decade. Both oil rich countries got pauperized. Still American could not achieve what they had targeted. When American found that this has not worked in promoting its design of dominating this entire region, they reverted to Afghanistan in the name of wiping out the alleged conspirators of 9/11 attack.
After destroying Afghanistan while securing their occupation of Iraq, the Americans are reportedly once again showing interest in adopting the Taliban. Under the patronage of Saudi Arabia, representatives of Hamid Karzai regime and of Molla Omar faction of Taliban are negotiating a power-sharing arrangement for post NATO- withdrawal Afghanistan. It seems, though Americans are using Pakistani agencies like ISI for developing contacts with Taliban, the present rulers of Pakistan are not being taken into confidence. On the contrary, their difficulties are being increased by conducting more and more drone attacks on Pakistani territories. During September alone, over two dozen such attacks were organized killing not only civilians but even personnel of Pakistani armed forces.
These American moves in the region and their continued efforts to hog a role for themselves in settlement of Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan may have far reaching consequences for the regional security. Americans have also stepped up their propaganda campaign for disturbing India-China relations. All talks of race between Chinese Hare and Indian Tortoise are aimed at destroying the ever developing close Sino-India relations. All these are bad omen. Those who cherish good neighbourly relations in this region and peace and development in the entire continent can ignore these vicious American moves on their own peril.

ECI Must Stop Money Flow in Polls: CPI
By D. Raja
The Election Commission of India convened a meeting of both national and state level political parties to discuss four major issues namely Electronic Voting Machines, Paid News, Use of money power in elections and Criminalisation of politics. D. Raja, Secretary, National Council of CPI represented the party and made the following points:
About Electronic Voting Machines
ECI wants to impress upon that keeping in view the controversies that have been raised on the possible tampering of EVMs, following steps have been taken towards fool-proof arrangements made by the ECI are the following:
u Structure and make of EVSM are such that they cannot be tampered,
u The arrangements made by them before polling and the kind of seals that are made on the EVMs are fool proof,
u The arrangements have been kept transparent after polling and also for security of EVMs,
u ECI here clearly wants to get a stamp of approval on the fool-proof arrangements made by them.
It is a fact that EVMs are used across the country in all elections, yet the voters are apprehensive about the machines, since the stamp on the election symbol of one’s choice on the ballot paper was more convincing to them. In case of EVM the voter has only to press a button for a particular symbol, which does not convince them of getting accounted for the party that he/she prefers. It is not the case of Japan and USA, but it has become a problem in several other countries. Therefore the election commission must be with an open mind to address this concern. The issue is not the perfection of EVMs but the confidence of the people. Enhancing the confidence of the people on the use of EVMs is important in a system like ours.
Paid News
The phenomena of surrogate advertisements and the extensive media-related malpractice of paid news and coverage packages is one of the major threats to the conduct of free and fair elections. It is corruption in the media which also undermines the very democracy of the country. This phenomena influences the functioning of a free press and media. It also undermines media playing role of a vital pillar of our democratic systems. The issue is being raised inside and outside parliament from time to time and some corrective measures need to be taken.
Due to increasing corporatisation of media and the ownership passing to the hands of big business and corporate houses it has become extremely difficult to have access to unbiased, unfiltered and objective news or information.
u Party is of the view that the Press Council of India should be given legal powers to act, not merely to admonish or pass strictures but also impose penalties against errant individuals and organisations. The proposal to amend section 15 (4) of the Press Council Act 1978, to make the directions of the council binding on government authorities has been pending for a long time and should be amended to provide the council more powers.
u The Election Commission and concerned authorities will have to act in a swift manner to apprehend those indulging in committing fraud on the public by using the existing provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act.
u Media should pursue their own code also to remain independent and objective.
Use of money power in elections
Despite strong measures and serious efforts, unaccounted election expenses constitute the major expenditure of some political parties and their candidates. These relate to the distribution of freebies, liquor and cash during elections and surrogate advertisement and paid news. This is an increasing menace which undermines the conduct of free and fair elections. In such a situation there is no level playing field for all political parties.
Election Commission of India has not been successful to curb the use of money during elections. ECI which takes over the entire administration during elections has failed to control money, liquor flow.
u ECI should seize all unaccounted money during the elections and should stop all freebies and liquor flow.
u It is high time that the policy of state funding is discussed by the government and ECI and decided upon as recommended by Indrajit Gupta Committee.
u As far as CPI is concerned the accounts of the party are audited by a CA and they are submitted to the Income Tax Authorities regularly. Election related accounts are submitted to the Election Commission regularly.
u ECI proposal that the accounts of the political parties should be audited by auditors appointed by the CAG or Election Commission is not acceptable.
Criminalisation of Politics
Criminalisation of Politics and politicisation of criminals is a serious issue. The politician-criminal nexuses are a real challenge to the democratic quality of the country. All political parties need to follow a code not to encourage criminal elements in anyway. It is shocking to see the observation made by National Election Watch which regard to forthcoming Assembly Elections in Bihar. 80 out of 183 (44%) candidate analysed have pending criminal cases according to affidavit submitted by the previous elections.
u Merely framing charges in the courts cannot be the basis for disqualifying any candidate.
u Any person who has been convicted of heinous crimes which are tried by sessions court has not got relief from any of the higher court should be disqualified.
u Persons convicted under Prevention of Corruption Act and SC/ST prevention of atrocities Act can be disqualified.

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