Opposition attacks govt over Saeed's release

Opposition attacks govt over Saeed's release

NDA, Samajwadi Party and RJD came together in the House to demand a statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or External Affairs Minister S M Krishna over the "serious development" which had hurt "India's self-respect" but when no assurance came, they staged a walkout.

The issue of indefinite postponement of the hearing of Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud Dawa outfit, by Pakistan's Supreme Court yesterday was raised by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav during Zero Hour and it found instant support from BJP, Shiv Sena, JD(U) and RJD.

Demanding an immediate response from the government on the development, members from these parties created an uproar leading to adjournment of the House for half an hour.

When the House re-assembled, Leader of Opposition L K Advani said government had described Saeed mastermind of 26/11, which was "like attack on India", but Pakistan had scrapped legal proceeding against him.

Advani referred to comments by Krishna to a newspaper that prosecution of Saeed is an "acid test" and talks with Pakistan would be futile till Pakistan acts against him and dismantles terror infrastructure.

Advani also pointed out Krishna has said that till Pakistan acts, there would be no meaning of talks no matter how many times the Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers or Foreign Secretaries meet.

"This statement amounts to contradicting the statement by the Prime Minister who has agreed to delinking terror from dialogue (in Indo-Pak joint statement). I will be happy if he did (contradict)," the BJP leader said, apparently taking a dig at the government.

"I demand that the Prime Minister or the External Affairs Minister should give a clarification in the House," he said at a time when neither Singh or Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee was present.

After Advani, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Congress member Sanjay Nirupam also spoke on the issue which turned into a virtual debate during which uproarious scenes and clashes between ruling and opposition benches were witnessed.
Advani wanted an assurance from the government as to when the Prime Minister or Krishna would respond.

Speaker Meira Kumar said she could not compel the government as it was a Zero Hour matter. Dissatisfied, Advani led a walkout by NDA members. Members of SP and RJD also walked out.

Earlier, Prasad supported Advani's contention, saying the BJP leader had talked about an important issue concerning the nation and "not any of his individual matters".

Amid shouts of "shame, shame", Prasad said Pakistan, by allowing Saeed to walk free, had shown India "the mirror" and "told us that this is your standing" but the government is "not taking any lesson".

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Mulayam Singh Yadav said the development indicates Pakistan's lack of will to target Saeed and exposes the hollowness of Prime Minister's statement of "trust and verify" with regard to Islamabad's actions against terrorism.
Yadav said Singh had eased pressure on Pakistan that had been built after the Mumbai attacks.

"Pakistan had been isolated after the Mumbai attacks. The world had come to realise that Pakistan is breeding ground for terrorism. But the Prime Minister has accorded it recognition at international scene," the SP chief said as his party members chanted slogans like "Pradhan Mantri Jawab do (PM should reply)".

Sharad Yadav said the Indo-Pak joint statement issued after the meeting between Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani was against India's interest and had given a "major shock" to the country and this had been proved by Islamabad's inaction against Saeed.

He said the delinking of terror from dialogue and mention of Balochistan in the joint statement was against national consensus over terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
The joint statement had eased pressure on Pakistan which had been "cornered" after Mumbai attacks, he said.

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