New Delhi, Nov 18: India-Pakistan relations are “chronically accident-prone”, says former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, who feels that the future lies in the past as the two countries carry too much baggage. He says Pakistan’s one-point programme is Kashmir but there is “Kashmir fatigue” in the world.
Singh, 87, also says that India made a fundamental mistake by going to the United Nations on the Kashmir issue and asserted there is no solution to it “as everything has been tried”.
“The fundamental mistake was to go to the UN on the Kashmir issue. (Prime Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru was pushed into it by (Governor General) Mountbatten. We went to the UN under Chapter 6, which is on disputes. We should have gone under chapter 7 which is on aggression,” Natwar Singh told IANS in an interview.
He said every Indian Prime minister and Foreign Minister thinks he can resolve the Kashmir issue and smoothen Indo-Pak relations.
“The fact is there is no solution for Kashmir, everything has been tried. The other fact is that Indo-Pak relations are chronically accident prone. The future of Indo-Pak relations lies in the past. Both countries carry too much baggage… I don’t see any change in our relationship. It is cheese and chalk… as simple as that. It’s a great pity,” he said.
India had in September this year called off a meeting between the foreign ministers of two countries on the sidelines of UN General Assembly after the killing of forces’ personnel in Jammu and Kashmir by militants.
India and Pakistan have not had a composite or sustained dialogue for the past 10 years to solve outstanding issues, including Kashmir, though there have been some interactions between their leaders.
India had called off the composite dialogue process within days of the Mumbai attacks of November 2008 and has repeatedly said that “terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil remains a hurdle to its resumption.”
In 2015, the two countries agreed to launch a “comprehensive dialogue” but it was junked following the attack on the Pathankot air base.
Natwar Singh said nothing significant should be expected from meetings between leaders of two countries.
“What could they talk? You can’t give an inch, they can’t give an inch. You meet and shake hands but there is nothing substantial. As I said, we have all tried. It is not realistic because if we really became very close friends, there will be question mark on the existence of the country.”
Natwar Singh said Pakistan’s one-point programme is Kashmir, but there is “Kashmir fatigue” in the world.
“You go to any part of Pakistan, this is a subject. You go to Chennai, nobody speaks of Kashmir. Their diplomats are really brilliant but they spend so much of their time on Kashmir. There is Kashmir fatigue in the world. We must accept the fact that it is the Army that calls the shots (in Pakistan).”
Asked about the way forward in India-Pakistan relations, Natwar Singh, whose last diplomatic posting was as India’s envoy to Pakistan and then Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that status quo would continue.
“If Indo-Pak relations genuinely improve, became cordial and friendly, then the people of Pakistan will ask why do we need such a large army? The army is not going to give up. And the retired officers have a foundation — Fauji Foundation — in which all have shares, they have land, property, industry and everything.”
He said the Army “was an industry” in Pakistan. “Since the assassination of Liauqat Ali Khan (Pakistan’s first Prime Minister) when there has been a civilian government, it is the army that has called the shots.”
“(Zulfikar Ali) Bhutto tried to challenge (this). He put Zia-ul-Haq (as Army chief) whom he thought was a non-entity. Zia hanged him,” Singh said.
Referring to the present Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, Natwar Singh said that the cricketer-turned-politician is a nice man and is popular.
“But the moment he tries to take an initiative, which is not acceptable to the army, he will be out. We have to accept what is, that’s all.
He said Modi made gestures towards Pakistan, halted there, went to the house of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but the bilateral relations are still accident prone.
“We would like to have good relations with them. We will like to have a stable and strong Pakistan but it is a very unstable country,” he said.
Natwar Singh, who was for long associated with the Congress and later was forced to quit following a UN report, said it was not possible to fundamentally depart from the framework of foreign policy laid by Nehru and the Modi government has not done so.
Recalling his meeting with Modi ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Natwar Singh said he told him that the Prime Minister is ultimately the Foreign Minister.
“I said it is not possible for anybody, any Prime Minister in the future to fundamentally change the framework of foreign policy laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru. If it was possible to change it, it would have been changed. So, I don’t think fundamentally he (Modi) has departed from it.”
Asked if the Modi government was getting too close to the US, Natwar Singh said: “No, he has been quite clever. He has been to Russia, he has been to China.” However, he said the Modi government should have handled its relations better with Nepal.
Natwar’s Singh’s latest book, “Treasured Epistles”, a collection of letters from some noted personalities, including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was published earlier this year.
Asked how did he rate Indira Gandhi, Natwar Singh said he would put her second behind Nehru, her father.
Natwar Singh was a junior minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government and External Affairs Minister in the first Congress-led UPA government. He resigned in the face of allegations, which he denied, after his name surfaced in the Volcker report that looked into the United Nations oil-for-food programme. (IANS)
GMC admits: Patients referred to Srinagar attended by juniors
Srinagar, Jan 21: The Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Monday acknowledged that the patients referred to its associated hospitals in Srinagar are being treated by junior doctors.
A circular by Principal GMC, Dr Samia Rashid said it had come to her notice that “patients referred from various district, sub-district hospitals and peripheries for specialised treatment in Associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar are being attended by Junior Residents without taking advice and consultation from their Registrars and Consultants on emergency duty.”
The circular asked the head of departments and units to ensure that referral patients are only seen by registrars or senior residents on emergency duty.
“The head of the departments and units are also impressed upon to ensure that Consultants on emergency duty…should make periodic rounds on their emergency day and take final evening round in emergency areas. Registrars and other resident staff on emergency duty should note down their advice in respect of patients admitted,” the circular reads.
The GMC Principal, as per the circular, asked the medical superintendents of the associated hospitals to monitor the work of Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) and Casualty Medical Officer (CMOs).
“…check whether they are discharging their duties as per their job profile…take necessary disciplinary action against the RMO/CMO who fails to discharge their assigned duties.”
The GMC circular follows the Thursday’s incident in which a pregnant woman, who was referred from Kupwara to Lal Ded hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on road when the doctor on duty refused to admit her.
The baby delivered in sub-zero temperatures died soon after.
Facing flak, the hospital ordered a probe immediately, which, eventually, concluded: “The doctor with her clinical assessment/USG findings did not anticipate the precipitate delivery in her, although unfortunately the doctor on duty went against the SOP for referrals by not admitting the patient.”
No negligence will be tolerated: Adv Kumar
Jammu, Jan 21: Taking a serious note of alleged mishandling of a pregnant lady from District Kupwara at L. D Hospital, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar Monday conveyed his sympathies with the affected family and assured a thorough enquiry into the unfortunate incident.
Chairing a high level meeting in this regard attended by Principal Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dullo; Principal, GMCs of Srinagar and Jammu; Directors of Health Services of Kashmir & Jammu besides Medical Superintendents of several hospitals the Advisor informed that the Governor has instructed that Hospital authorities across the State should strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) in the case of referrals to tertiary care hospitals adding that no negligence in observing these SoPs would be tolerated in future.
He said maintaining high standards of health care delivery to the citizens of the State should be observed at all costs and that the Governor’s Administration is committed to fill in all the existing gaps of manpower, equipment and infrastructure to strengthen the primary healthcare system across the State.
The Advisor sought recommendations to identify the lapses and gaps so that such incidents do not take place in future. He directed the Principal GMC Srinagar and Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir/ Jammu to identify Nodal Officers who shall solely be responsible for streamlining the referrals from primary and secondary health care institutions to tertiary care hospitals in the State.
He said that directions have been issued as part of the ‘Auditing Mechanism’ that doctor’s prescription shall be inscribed with seal/ stamp mentioning name and credentials of the prescribing and referring doctor so that responsibilities can be fixed in any eventuality.
‘Bukhari tried to sell PDP for his personal gains’
Srinagar, Jan 21: Refuting that Altaf Bukhari’s name was at any point suggested as an interim president of the party, Vice President Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Rahman Veeri on Monday said that seeking “self-promotion through illicit, undemocratic and unethical measures” was Bukhari’s sole agenda in PDP.
Veeri, in a statement, said that across the state, party functionaries, workers and activists en-masse support Mehbooba Mufti in her every endeavour to get the state out of the present cycle of violence.
“Every person associated with the PDP has witnessed how amid the tumultuous times Mehbooba Mufti built the party brick by brick and made it a guiding force in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape,” Veeri said.
He added that in spite of taking over in very trying circumstances, PDP president ran the government with “integrity and caliber”.
“However, she was back-stabbed by some people especially Altaf Bukhari,” he said.
Veeri said that by giving out his desire to become PDP President, Bukhari had “exposed his real agenda which he initiated within days after Mufti saheb’s death.”
“For that he even made Nagpur Yatra in a bid to seek their blessings for forming the government at the cost of party and state interest. Ever since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he tried to grab the party and sell it out for promotion of his personal ambitions,” said Veeri.
The PDP Vice President stated further that every person is now aware that when party President Mehbooba Mufti was standing firm before the government of India, Bukhari even went up to Nagpur to offer his services as an alternative. “Such action of his sabotaged the agenda of alliance and the negotiations Mehbooba Mufti was having with the government of India, demanding implementation of specific points in the agenda of alliance as a precondition for taking over as the Chief Minister of the state,” Veeri said.
The PDP veteran added that even when the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti was formed in April 2016, a clear signal was given to Bukhari as he was dropped from the cabinet. It was later, according to Veeri, on assurances of good conduct from Bukhari that his position was restored.
He said that the ousted leader had no problem with the party till the government was in place and he begun inventing issues soon after the dissolution of assembly.
“Till the dissolution, Bukhari had the hopes of getting the government back. Though, till then, he was behaving like a party man but his one foot was in PDP and his soul and spirit were with all other parties except PDP. He was in contact with the outlaws and even made hectic efforts to instigate rebellion within the party,” Veeri said, adding that soon after dissolution of assembly, Bukhari saw only one way of finishing the PDP and that was by taking over as president and he openly told some party leaders that he wants to take over as a prize for him to stay in the party.
“He had a one point agenda and that was to take over the party and sell it out for promoting his political and other interests. Now exposed, he is openly declaring his ambitions in public,” Veeri said.
He added that people of the state know Mehbooba Mufti as a person with “selfless courage and a desire to ensure betterment in peoples’ lives.”
“It is not Mehbooba Mufti who needs PDP. It is actually the PDP which needs the person of her stature. Her command and sincerity in work is already being praised by one and all, not only in JK but across the country. She has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression she has left on the minds of people is that she is actuated by high sense of fairness and impartiality. Every person associated with the PDP is proud of her leadership and is hopeful that she will lead the people of the state to their permanent prosperity,” said Veeri.
Dy Mayor assaulted during SMC’s councilors session
Srinagar, Jan 21: Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Imran was Monday injured when “two corporators” allegedly assaulted him during the councilor session of the corporation.
He was shifted to police hospital for immediate treatment.
A senior police official confirmed the incident and said that a case has been registered and further action taken up.
After being discharged from hospital, Imran addressed a presser alleging that he was attacked by two “RSS and BJP-backed corporators”.
He said assault on him was pre-planned by the “BJP-backed mayor” and hoped that police will take appropriate action in the case.
“I will not bow down by such tactics. I will continue to speak against corruption and injustice,” he said, adding that he was attacked for launching a “tirade against BJP and Hindutva campaigns.” Imran said that he was committed to “kicking out” the BJP from Kashmir.
“From the first day, I urged the administration to look into the issue of BJP, RSS sponsored Mayor but they turned deaf ears to my pleas,” he said.