Surjeet, not Sarabjit
The reports, “It’s Surjeet, not Sarabjit, says Pakistan” & “Misled by news reports, Sarabjit’s village rejoices” (June 27), are a classic case of turning bliss into melancholy. The flip-flop on the part of the Pakistan administration has dashed hopes of Sarabjit Singh being released. One only hopes that justice will be realised in the end.
Is Pakistan really interested in releasing Sarabjit or has whatever that has happened a sign of backroom manoeuvring by the Army generals?
It looks as if Pakistan is really not interested in developing relations with India. Perhaps, the nabbing of Zabiuddin Ansari, the Maharashtra-born 26/11 suspect deported from Saudi Arabia to India, may be the reason. Embarrassing revelations could be possible.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Pakistan President’s Office (most probably under the ISI’s instructions) has played a sinister role in the U-turn. It was shocking to read the headlines when just the previous evening, the print and electronic media had been building up the tempo towards what should have been a joyous occasion. On a separate point, it was only after reading the news today that one got to know who Surjeet Singh is.
The time has come for the government to intervene and get every innocent Indian convicted in Pakistan freed at the earliest. What about the prisoners of war of 1971?
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Had Sarabjit Singh been released, it would have further strengthened our bilateral ties with Pakistan.
In a matter of hours, Sarabjit Singh transmogrified into Surjeet Singh, thanks to some terrible moves by President Asif Ali Zardari. It was terrible to read the news. It is not inconceivable that the Pakistani President gave in to the immense pressure from the hawks and hardliners.
One is reminded of what Robespierre’s men did to the nobles at the end of the French Revolution. They released the nobles in the disguise of commoners, in a bid to escape, let them travel to the main gate and then called them back to be guillotined.
The electronic media in particular looks quite foolish. In practical terms, it also means the postponement of the much-needed reconciliation and normalisation of bilateral relations. At this point in time, both India and Pakistan would do well to avoid contemplating a hardening of stances as there are hundreds of Indian and Pakistani nationals who continue to languish in prisons in both countries.
G. David Milton,
It’s unfortunate that in order to increase TRP, the electronic media went overboard and ended up perpetrating a cruel joke without waiting for the facts.
One is tempted to say that Pakistan has revealed its true colours and always seems to be like a wounded tiger waiting to strike no matter what attempts are made at reconciliation. When India takes several postive steps forward, why do we always end up with egg on our face?
What a shock for Sarabjit Singh’s family. What I suspect is that it is not a mistake by Pakistan but deliberate mischief.
It is unfortunate that after offering a lifeline to Sarabjit Singh, Pakistan has played its master card. The confusion over the “mix-up” of names should have been avoided.
The release of Surjeet Singh is also good news. But Pakistan’s faux pas over Sarabjit is rather disturbing. Pakistan must realise the pain inflicted by it intentionally or unintentionally on his family. The government of India seems to have been caught off guard, once again.
This is with reference to the article “Experiments with Aadhaar” (June 27). A section of the educated is against Aadhaar, casting doubts over the credibility in maintaining the secrecy of inputs into the system.
There is also a large section of people which has not got the Aadhaar card. The government has not issued specific guidelines on the usage of Aadhaar, either on its use or on corrections/changes to it.
Without addressing all the practical difficulties associated with biometrics, experimenting with rural masses is a bad idea.
I am a citizen of India and currently a resident of Hong Kong. This country has a parallel system called the Hong Kong ID (HKID) card, which has been in use for a long time. HKID has enabled extremely efficient distribution of all government services — health care, police, emergency services, etc. Also, other private services like banking are extremely convenient. Even immigration is a breeze. HKID and totally automated systems ensure this.
Therefore, any opposition to Aadhaar is short-sighted. I am not saying that Aadhaar is the master key to all the government’s problems. But it will usher in efficiencies in a lot of government processes, which is the need of the hour.
Apurva A. Godbole,
Andhra Pradesh is one of the few States where business rules enable a Secretary to circulate the file to the Chief Minister through the Chief Secretary if he differs from his Minister and provides adequate safeguards to honest civil servants when they tender advice in the public interest (June 27). Such a provision does not exist in the Government of India’s Business Rules. The late H.C. Sarin, posted as Adviser to A.P. during President’s Rule in the early 1970s, was impressed by this. Of course, this assumes that the Chief Secretary is supportive of an officer of rectitude.
Officers who reach the level of Secretary are expected to have minimal bureaucratic skills to save themselves. To plead political pressure is just puerile. But it should also be noted that the CBI, most often manned by the IPS, perpetrates the IAS-IPS rivalry syndrome.
As a civil servant, I would suggest that the primary woe with the prime constitutional executive service is its illegal, arbitrary tenures in the States. This defeats the very purpose of the service intended by the Constituent Assembly and its greatest champion, Sardar Patel, to provide stability and a uniform standard of administration across the Union and the States.
There is a world of difference when an officer is posted as district collector or head of department with a minimum two-year term and on pleasure. If arbitrary removal is made slightly difficult in key positions, by providing for a process of hearing by a board comprising a retired Judge, the Chief Secretary and the Minister-in-charge and making all appointments via Cabinet notes and not “out of agenda,” the reasoning for asking for a posting and effecting a removal can be scrutinised. Nefarious casteist and communal interests, apart from the “my man “syndrome can be checked, at least documented. While governments must indeed have the flexibility to effect personnel policy, gross abuse of such policy leading to pure “personal pleasure” as against constitutional pleasure postings can be thus reduced, if not eliminated.
Efforts to place such a minimum term in the rule book have so far been unsuccessful for obvious reasons and there is no hope for the same to be effected unless there is judicial insistence. This could be the single most effective progressive step in the management of the IAS in the States.