New Delhi: A private member’s bill, which seeks to declare Pakistan a country sponsoring terrorism, will be opposed by the government in Parliament.
‘The Declaration of Countries as Sponsor of Terrorism Bill, 2016’, moved by Independent member Rajeev Chandrasekhar in Rajya Sabha, “seeks to call out states like Pakistan that continue to associate, promote, patronise and sponsor terrorism against our nation” and provides for snapping all economic and trade relations with that country.
“India can’t declare any country a ‘Terror State’ as it has to maintain diplomatic relations with all countries. Besides, in principle, it is very rare that a government supports any private member’s bill,” a home ministry official said.
The home ministry has conveyed to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat about its opposition to the Bill, saying such a move may “jeopardise” international relations. While moving the bill on February 3, Chandrasekhar said that for decades, India and other countries in the region have been victims of terror attacks from organisations and individuals based in and with the support of elements in Pakistan.
“Yet for decades we have remained engaged with Pakistan in an attempt to draw it into the mainstream. This Bill is to finally put into motion the process of calling terror sponsors to account,” Chandrasekhar said.
He also quoted data to say that from 1998 to 29, January 2017 14,741 civilians have been killed in terror attacks in this country, 6,274 security force personnel lost their lives and we have 23,146 terrorists. He also referred to the terror attack on Parliament, the Indian ‘temple of democracy’, on December 13, 2001, to press his point.
Stating that “Pakistan’s history and track record of fostering terrorism and terrorists is long and indeed distinguishable and incontrovertible,” he added, “It is time that we stop running to other countries to declare Pakistan a terror state and stood up and did this job ourselves.”
Asserting that the world is getting tired and has lost patience with “rogue nations”, he said as the global opinion consolidates around the conduct of some countries like Pakistan, the focus will naturally come on what India and the Indian Parliament’s approach to that threat is.
Chandrasekhar said the bill can apply in the future also to other countries that directly or indirectly aid terror attacks against India.